Niles finishes tourney at 2-1Published 9:28am Friday, October 9, 2009
It may have been wet, cold and dark, but the Niles varsity soccer team didn’t seem to mind as it wrapped up the Big 16 Conference Soccer Tournament with a 3-0 win over visiting Battle Creek Central Thursday night.
The win gave the Vikings a 2-1 record in the tournament. Niles dropped the opening match of competition, but rebounded to win its final two games.
Niles grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first half and then added a pair of insurance goals in the final half to pull away to the victory.
Derrick Nzabakira opened the scoring with an unassisted goal.
Nzabakira snared a clearing pass from the Bearcat defense, beat a defender and scored on a breakaway with 22:33 showing in the clock.
Less than a minute into the second half, Jonathon Eddy made it a 2-0 Niles lead with another unassisted goal.
Eddy took a direct free kick from 35-yards out and put up high. The ball went through the keeper’s finger tips and into the goal.
The final tally of the night came again from Eddy, this time with the help of Nzabakira with 11:54 to play in the match.
Nzabakira delivered a perfect corner kick which Eddy headed into the goal.
The match was stopped with 10 minutes remaining due to darkness.
“Through wet and poor conditions, we played some pretty good soccer,” Niles coach Jerry Holtgren said. “Battle Creek was aggressive and created a few opportunities, but for the most part, it was evident that the players wanted to pick up a quality win tonight. We attacked well, finished on opportunities, and played aggressive defensively. As a team, we have made it a focus, and spent practice time on taking advantage of dead balls. Tonight, two of our goals came off of them: a direct kick and a corner kick.
“On both dead balls, Jonathon Eddy had the finishing touch, one with his foot and one with his head. Dustin Wright also came close on a corner kick by being active and aggressive in the box. Cole Allison played his best game of the season in the midfield. He played solid defense and set up some quality scoring chances for us.
“Jacob Stanage had another solid game as well. He has become a really good defender, and as our sweeper, makes big plays whenever he needs to. Time after time, he gets us out of trouble with his intelligent and aggressive play. The kids are excited to have a couple of wins in a row, and we hope to get our third on Saturday,” he added.
Niles 1, Battle Creek 0
N – Derrick Nzabakira 22:33
N – Jonathon Eddy 39:14
N – Eddy 11:54 (Nzabakira assist)
Shots on goal
Battle Creek 7
Battle Creek 12
Niles 4 (Ryan Casey)