First encounters of a rough kind

Published 10:11 pm Thursday, August 23, 2007

By By STEVE MORRISON / Niles Daily Star
NILES – For 79 of 80 minutes, the Brandywine boys' soccer team held on to a thread of hope for victory in their inaugural game of the season against Lake Michigan Catholic's Lakers on a sultry Wednesday night at Brandywine High School.
The visiting Lakers held on for a 2-0 non-conference victory.
"Two bad bounces, that's all it took," lamented head coach Jim McNamara said after the game. "We didn't put the ball in the net. We had easy shots we should have made. We played well enough to win."
Brandywine had more shots on goal (11) than LMC (7), more control of the ball in their opponent's end, and some great defensive work from Nathan Baliant, Michael Money, Jake Weiger Matt Liebetrau, and Caleb Young, as well as the rest of the defensive-minded attack who stretched high and low to keep the pressure on their opponents.
Freshman keeper, Brian Exner, in his first varsity contest, made some remarkable saves, two at point blank range.
During the first half Brandywine kept the ball on the attack for the first six minutes, never allowing the ball to cross midfield.
Brandywine's Jake Harris stole the ball near midfield and soared down the sideline and was stymied on his shot on goal by LMC's cat-like goalie, T.J. Simmons with a diving save. Simmons was spectacular in goal with leaping and diving saves on several Brandywine charges.
Senior Michael Kurina of Lake Michigan put his team ahead with a point blank shot with 29:50 remaining in the first period, assisted by junior Patrick Glowacki.
Brandywine had an excellent opportunity to tie the score at the 5:30 mark when the Lakers' Sam Monte drew a hand-ball penalty. On the ensuing penalty shot Travis Bakeman's kick sailed wide to the right on a shank.
Brandywine started out the first five minutes of the second half with offensive aggression, Simmons snared Young's hard shot with 36 minutes remaining. Seconds later, Harris sent a shot in the air that was grabbed by Simmons. At 31:50 Simmons made an acrobatic leaping snare of Harris's hard shot. Simmons seemed indomitable.
With 16:30 remaining Brandywine's Weiger sailed down the middle, preceded by some great passing by Travis Bakeman and Will Coar, to rifle a shot that Simmons recovered on a diving save to his left.
With 29.4 seconds left in the game a fluke goal was scored by LMC's Charlie Stephen when a throw-in eluded Exner on a deflection by Stephen. That sealed the deal.
Lake Michigan Catholic…2
First Half
29:50 – Michael Kurina (LMC) Patrick Glowacki (assist)
Second Half
:29 – Charlie Stephen (LMC) unassisted
Shots on Goal
Lake Michigan – 7
Brandywine – 11Saves
LMC – 11 (Simmons)
Brandywine – 4 (Exner)