Dowagiac falls to Shamrocks on penalty kicks

Published 10:03 pm Monday, October 14, 2013

Dowagiac forward Jorge Ruiz (7) kicks the ball past Berrien Springs' Zachary Weckel (2) during Monday’s Division 3 District match. (Leader photo/JOSEPH WEISER)

Dowagiac forward Jorge Ruiz (7) kicks the ball past Berrien Springs’ Zachary Weckel (2) during Monday’s Division 3 District match. (Leader photo/JOSEPH WEISER)

Players on the Dowagiac boys soccer team were visibly upset after Monday’s Division 3 opening round district tournament match against Berrien Springs.

The Chieftains, who finish the season at 7-9-1, squandered numerous scoring opportunities and eventually fell to the Shamrocks, 2-1, in overtime.

The game was decided on penalty kicks with the Shamrocks winning that battle, 3-1.

Berrien Springs, which improved to 8-10, won despite being shorthanded and outshot, 25-7. The Shamrocks were without four players who left the team because of personal reasons. Berrien Springs had only one sub for Monday’s match.

“We just didn’t finish,” said Dowagiac coach Mike Williams. “(Berrien Springs goalie) Christian (Haack) covers the goal better than anybody in Southwest Michigan. You’ve got to put it in the corner every time and not let them score at all. (Haack) can shut you down and he did. He did a great job. We attacked and attacked continuously. It wasn’t like we weren’t attacking well.”

Haack, 6-foot-3, finished with 10 saves, including two during the penalty kick shootout.

“Christian is excellent,” said Berrien Springs coach Art Zimmer. “He saved us many times. He’s been awesome in goal the entire year. He made some great saves tonight.”

Converting on penalty kicks for Berrien Springs were Luis Anchondo, Haack and Steffen Kolenko, who had the game-winning kick. Dowagiac’s good penalty kick game from Jorge Ruiz.

“If we put the ball down in low like I told them to then we had a good opportunity to win,” Williams said about the penalty kicks. “But, we didn’t. (Haack) had a couple of good saves.”

Dowagiac had all five shots in the first 10-minute overtime period and each team had a shot in the second 10-minute overtime period.

“I pushed one up in the second overtime to try to get more pressure because I didn’t want to go to a shootout for the obvious reason,” Williams said. “We just couldn’t capitalize.”

The Chieftains took a 1-0 lead in the first half after getting a goal from 15 yards from Ricardo Esparza with 11:51 left in the first half.

That lead lasted until 17:54 left in the second half when Kolenko scored for Berrien Springs.

“We played good defense,” Williams said. “We just had one breakdown. It was a good game.”

It was the third meeting of the year between the two teams with two squads splitting the regular season matches. Dowagiac won 2-0 and Berrien Springs won, 5-2.

“We’ve come together as a team,” Zimmer said. “I’m really proud of them. They didn’t give up tonight and they played hard until the end.”


Berrien Springs…2


Halftime score

Dowagiac 1, Berrien Springs 0


First half

D – Ricardo Esparza 11:51


Second half

B – Steffen Kolenko 17:54


Shots on goal

Berrien Springs 7

Dowagiac 25



Berrien Springs 10 (Christian Haack)

Dowagiac 5 (Nate Stewart)


Corner kicks

Berrien Springs 4

Dowagiac 12