Dowagiac edges Wildcats

Published 8:57 am Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dowagiac’s Paloma Medina sends the ball up field against Three Rivers Wednesday night. The Chieftains edged the Wildcats 3-2. (The Daily News/Ron Harner)

Dowagiac’s Paloma Medina sends the ball up field against Three Rivers Wednesday night. The Chieftains edged the Wildcats 3-2. (The Daily News/Ron Harner)

Dowagiac remained unbeaten after six games in soccer as the girls revenged a mercy game from last year to Wolverine Conference member Three Rivers in a 3-2 triumph on Wednesday.

“Three Rivers mercied us last year and are still a solid team, so I am very happy with the result,” stated Dowagiac coach Mike Williams. “These girls are growing up and they are doing real well as this is the best start ever here as I don’t remember ever being 2-0 before.”

Senior Hannah McEnroe of the Wildcats (3-1) scored the first goal of the game after more than 14 minutes of action with a low left corner shot that eluded junior Dowagiac goalie Alyssa Fritz.

The Chiefs knew it was not going to be like prior years as junior Kelsie Primley ricocheted a 20-yard shot off both the vertical and cross bar into the net behind freshman McKenna Bidelman of Three Rivers.

Primley assisted the lone Dowagiac senior Sami Mathews’s goal with 1:45 before intermission to take the lead for good as Mathews fired a bullet into the net with a clear shot after a scramble in front of the young visiting goal keeper to put the Chieftains up 2-1.

Each team had six shots in the first half, with Dowagiac having three corner kicks to one for the Wildcats. Fritz had a trio of saves for the Chiefs compared to the pair by Bidelman.

“It was a rough week with the weather again, since we have played four games so far when it should be nine or 10,” noted Three Rivers assistant coach Pete Bachinski. “We need to start to get in the practice mode to start clicking to move forward.”

Fritz continued to make saves for the Chiefs as the Wildcats put quality shots on the slick field, as neither team could dent the net for 27 minutes of the second half.

“We are lucky to have (Alyssa) Fritz as she communicates real well as a goalie after being a back-up in the field last year,” mentioned Williams. “One end of the field was better than the other, but it held up pretty well with all the rain recently.”

Dowagiac took a two goal lead after junior Bre Williams received a pass from classmate Lauren Krueger with 12:18 left in the game with a left foot shot that rolled into the corner of the goal.

Three Rivers narrowed the lead as senior Emily Rathburn used her left foot to find the far corner with just under six minutes remaining to play, but a 20-yard direct kick with 20 seconds left from McEnroe sailed over the top bar by only a couple feet which sealed the victory for the Chiefs.

“It was a good, competitive game and we love competition, but need to get back to our normal routine,” said Bachinski.

The Wildcats had a 16-12 advantage in shots with Fritz saving nine potential goals and Bidelman having a quartet of saves for Three Rivers.  Dowagiac doubled the Wildcats in corner kicks with the visitors having one per half.

“We have a tough schedule coming up, but chemistry is important and it is starting to pay off for these girls,” concluded Williams. “We were aggressive and won a lot of loose balls.”