Defending champs blank ChiefsPublished 9:52pm Wednesday, May 9, 2012
When you talk about the elite high school girls soccer programs in the state of Michigan, Plainwell is usually mentioned.
Dowagiac faced the defending state champion (Division 2) Trojans Wednesday and saw them execute almost flawlessly in an 8-0 mercy-rule win.
It was the 14th shutout of the year for fifth-ranked Plainwell, which improved to 13-2-2 overall and 6-0 in the Wolverine Conference. Dowagiac dropped to 10-5-1 overall and 3-3 in the conference.
How dominant was Plainwell? The Chieftians didn’t have one shot on goal or a corner kick.
“We played them on grass (this year) compared to turf (last year, a 7-0 Plainwell win) when they can run you to death and they have a lot more space to connect with passes,” said Dowagiac coach Mike Williams. “It helps us out to play on grass. But we lack a deep bench in experience and we can’t step physically on the field and run with them. We did as well as we could do at this point. We were unlucky with some things, but their subs are as good as their starters. It’s tough to hang with somebody when that happens.
“But it was about effort tonight. I told our girls (before the match) to give everything they got and they did. That’s important going into districts.”
While Dowagiac rarely got past midfield and into an offensive attack, Plainwell shot consistently on goal, especially in the first half. The Trojans owned a 27-0 shots on goal advantage in the first half. Shelby Hubbell scored twice in the first half for Plainwell and Lauren Saar and Hope Pell each scored once in the first 40 minutes.
Plainwell also had two shots that hit the left and right post.
The Trojans weren’t quite as efficient on offense in the second half as the visitors had 12 shots. Plainwell scored four goals over the final 17:59 with Saar scoring once, Pell scoring twice and Sarah Morrell scoring once. Morrell’s goal on an assist from Saar with 13:34 left gave the Trojans an 8-0 lead and a mercy-rule win.
Sixteen different players have scored this year for Plainwell, which lost only three players off last year’s state title team.
“I think that we’re just as hungry as we were last year,” said Plainwell coach Chad Wiseman. “We’re battling through a few injuries. We have three starters that didn’t dress today that normally play. But, we have a different makeup. We’re probably a little stronger defensively this year and don’t have as much going forward (offensively) as we’ve had in the past. We’re not quite as dangerous offensively this year. We’re a pretty balanced attack offensively, which is a nice thing.”
Dowagiac goalie Alyssa Fritz finished with 13 saves. She missed about two minutes in the second half after suffering a leg injury.
“She got some balls shot on her and that was good for her,” Williams said. “She got hurt, but she’ll be fine. Defensively, my mids had to drop back to defensive wings to match up with their quick, long-legged players. We had to match up man-to-man the best we could.”
Plainwell 4, Dowagiac 0
P – Shelby Hubbell 21:29
P – Hubbell 16:09
P – Lauren Saar 7:05
P – Hope Pell :13
P – Saar 17:59
P – Pell 15:47
P – Pell 14:18
P – Sarah Morrell (Saar) 13:34
Shots on goal
Plainwell 39, Dowagiac 0
Plainwell 0 (Sarah Morrell, Aubrey Tran)
Dowagiac 13 (Alyssa Fritz, Sarah Long)
Plainwell 9, Dowagiac 0