Vikings suffer another heartbreakerPublished 10:14am Friday, October 2, 2009
BATTLE CREEK – Another match, another heartbreaking loss.
The Niles varsity soccer team just cannot get over the hump in one-goal matches.
On Thursday night, the Vikings opened up the Big 16 Conference Tournament with a 2-1 loss to host Battle Creek Harper Creek.
“It was an evenly played game and Harper Creek was able to finish an opportunity at the end,” Niles coach Jerry Holtgren said. “We generated some shots ourselves, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Their keeper had some nice diving saves, which really could have turned things in our favor. We were without the services of four starters, but the players really stuck together and played with more intensity than in the last couple of contests.”
Niles grabbed a 1-0 lead with 26:12 remaining in the first half when Derrick Nzabakira, who on a quick transition down the line with Gilberto Palafox Jr. scored.
Palafox split the defense with a pass to Nzabakira, who was running in the box. His one-touch shot got past the keeper to make it a 1-0 contest.
Harper Creek responded nearly 13 minutes later to knot the match at 1-1 heading to intermission.
With just 8:42 remaining in the match, Harper Creek scored the match-winner off a breakaway.
The shots on goal were nearly as close as the final score. Harper Creek held a 10-8 advantage in that department.
Ryan Casey had seven saves for the Vikings.
“Ryan Casey played an excellent game in goal,” Holtgren said. “He had three reflex saves in a 10 second period that kept us tied and in the game. Derrick Nzabakira, Christian Rackley, Gilberto Palafox, and Kassim Dafa were active up front for us and created some solid scoring opportunities.”
Niles 1, Harper Creek 1
N – Derrick Nzabakira 13th minute (Gilberto Palafox Jr. assist)
HP – 26th minute
HP – 71st minute
Shots on goal
Harper Creek 10
Niles 8 (Ryan Casey)
Harper Creek 7