Chieftains let one get awayPublished 10:16pm Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Following Wednesday afternoon’s 3-2 Wolverine Conference West Division loss to Berrien Springs, veteran Dowagiac soccer coach Mike Williams knelt in disbelief on the sideline.
Williams’ frustration had little to do with the fact that his Chieftains had lost. Rather, it was the way they lost.
Sluggish from the outset, Dowagiac (4-5) yielded all three Berrien Springs goals during the first 22 minutes of the match, and seemed to be sleepwalking for the entirety of the first half.
“They didn’t want to be out there in the first half,” Williams said. “I subbed in all my freshmen and sophomores that don’t play much, because I wasn’t going to watch a lack of effort, and they gave everything they’ve got.
“Obviously, my starters are older and have a lot of talent, but they gave zero effort in the first half. It was obvious for anybody who can see with eyes that they weren’t trying.”
Berrien Springs opened the scoring with a goal by Samuel Martinez during the second minute that provided a precursor of what was to ensue over the next 38 minutes.
“That was the worst goal I’ve ever seen scored on us in my 12 years,” Williams said. “It was like AYSO. They just stood there. The keeper watched and everybody else just watched as the ball was sitting there.”
The Shamrocks added goals by Ruben Zapata (10th minute) and Giovanni Rocha (22nd minute), and Dowagiac’s ineffective offensive attack produced just one shot on goal during the first 40 minutes.
The Chieftains responded to their coach’s tongue-lashing at halftime and played with heightened intensity and energy at both ends of the pitch in the second half.
Dowagiac got goals from Joey Pasternak (74th) and Tony Solis (79th) during the final six minutes of the match.
“We really didn’t put forth any effort in the first half,” Pasternak said. “Everybody just came out walking around. At half, coach talked to us and then we came out in the second half and played like we can play.”
Pasternak nearly scored from nearly 70 yards out for the Chieftains with just over seven minutes remaining, bouncing the ball off the crossbar to set up a corner kick by teammate Jorge Ruiz.
On the corner kick, Pasternak sprinted in from his position on defense and headed the ball past Shamrocks goalkeeper Christian Haack.
“Usually, we don’t practice corners with me, because I am at the defensive end,” Pasternak said, “but coach just told me to go up and Jorge put in a perfect ball for me. I just went up over everybody and headed it in.”
With just over a minute remaining, Ruiz sent a crossing pass to Solis, who redirected the ball past Haack to make it 3-2.
But it was too little, too late.
“That’s a team we shouldn’t lose to,” Williams said. “I’m not taking anything away from (Berrien Springs), because they played for 80 minutes and deserved to win, but it’s frustrating when you have your team shut down completely. It’s just mental.
“We have plenty of season left and hopefully they turn it around and play 80 minutes.”
“We really do know how to play. We just get lazy sometimes,” Pasternak added. “When we play hard, we’re a pretty good team and we’re hard to beat.”
Berrien Springs 3, Dowagiac 0
BS – Samuel Martinez 2nd minute
BS – Ruben Zapata 10th minute
BS – Giovanni Rocha 22nd minute
D – Joey Pasternak 74th minute
D – Tony Solis 79th minute
Shots on goal
Berrien Springs 8