Niles’ Alex Wright heads a ball against Battle Creek Harper Creek in the Big 16 Conference Tournament opener Tuesday. (Leader photo/JOSEPH WEISER)

Archived Story

Harper Creek edges Vikings 2-1

Published 9:00pm Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Niles boys soccer coach Dave Jacobs said his team made two defensive mistakes in Tuesday’s match against Battle Creek Harper Creek.

The second one was more costly as the Beavers scored late in the second half to beat the Vikings, 2-1, in a Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference Crossover Tournament match.

Steven Hanson’s header from five yards with 3:40 left in the contest turned out to be the game-winning goal. The goal was set up by Jake Andrews’ free kick at midfield and also an assist from Alec Fisher.

“Totally a breakdown,” said Jacobs about the late goal. “There was no reason for (Niles goal) Ryan (Casey) to come off his line. He could have stayed in the net. Both goals were defensive errors. We gave it away.”

Battle Creek Harper Creek coach Andrew Evans was asked about what he was thinking in the final minutes.

“I was wondering if we had the experience the close out the game,” said Evans. “In years past, we’ve managed to slip up in the end. We held on to the win at the end. Our goalie made some great saves and our defense came through.”

Niles tied the match at 1 in the first half after getting a goal from 25 yards in the right corner from Stuart Coulston with 38:20 left in the second half.

“Their goalkeeper made a big mistake,” Jacobs said about Coulston’s goal. “The ball went right over (the goalkeeper’s) head.”

The Vikings then had opportunities to score a second goal, but were unable to finish. Jake Brawley had a shot from five yards stopped by Beavers’ goalie Jeffrey Mann with 36:50 left in the match. Niles’ Sheldon Mudd had a goal taken away because of an offsides penalty with 5:30 left in the match. Niles’ final shot came with 1:40 remaining when Sam Rodts had a shot in the front of the goal stopped by Mann. Graham Hoppstock’s corner kick set up that shot.

“You’ve got to watch where you’re at on the field,” Jacobs said about the offsides call. “Instead, the win goes the other way.”

Niles, which was outshot, 10-1, in the first half, played much better in the second half, outshooting Battle Creek Harper Creek, 7-6.

“Same old light the fire under their butts,” Jacobs said about his halftime message. “We then come out and score a goal in the second minute. It would be nice if we could play for 80 minutes.”

The Beavers took a 1-0 lead in the first half after getting goal from Fisher off an assist from Hanson with 14:51 left in the first half. The goal kick was 10 yards.

With 24 minutes left in the first half, Battle Creek Harper Creek’s Cole Schneider had his shot hit the right post.

Casey had three saves in the first half and four saves in the second.

“He was huge as always,” Jacobs said about Casey’s play in the first half. “I love that guy back there.”


Harper Creek…2


Halftime score

Battle Creek Harper Creek 1, Niles 0


First half

B – Alec Fisher (Steven Hanson) 14:51


Second half

N – Stuart Coulston 38:20

B – Hanson (Fisher and Jake Andrews) 3:40


Shots on goal

Battle Creek Harper Creek 16, Niles 8



Harper Creek 4 (Jeffrey Mann)

Niles 7 (Ryan Casey)


Corner kicks

Battle Creek Harper Creek 2, Niles 2



Battle Creek Harper Creek 7-9-1, Niles 5-9


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