Chieftains snap three-game streak

DOWAGIAC — The toughest stretch of the Dowagiac soccer schedule is now behind the Chieftains.

Dowagiac was able to snap a three-match Wolverine Conference losing streak with a 5-0 victory over visiting Sturgis Monday night.

With only three matches left on the regular-season schedule, it was important for Dowagiac to get back on the right track when it comes to running its offense according to Mike Williams.

Dowagiac, which scored 67 goals through its first 13 matches, had not scored more than two in its consecutive losses to Allegan (1-0), Edwardsburg (3-2) and Plainwell (5-0). Williams said that the only time his team did not play well was in its last match against the Trojans.

“We started playing like we had been playing, instead of trying to force things down the middle,” Williams said of the scoring. “We started doing what we do, which is swinging and feeding out and then feeding back and feeding through, instead of trying to run through. All of our goals came from feeding out and then feeding back in because that is what we are good at.”

Senior Cristian Wilson got the scoring started in the fifth minute and then capped the scoring in the 58th minute.  Wilson’s first goal was the only scoring in the opening 40 minutes.

In between his goals, Cole Weller picked up a hat trick as he scored in the 47th, 55th and 58th minutes in the second half.

“We knew that was going to be the toughest part of our schedule,” Williams said. “We made it through without a bunch of injuries and everyone is in relatively good shape. Now it is time to fine-tune what we did well at the beginning of the year.”

The Chieftains (13-4, 3-3 Wolverine) will now set its sights on preparing for the postseason, which starts Oct. 7 when Dowagiac takes on Berrien Springs. Coloma is the host district.

Before that, the Chieftains will host Otsego today at 5:30 p.m. before traveling to South Haven on Sept. 30 and then hosting Paw Paw in the regular and Wolverine senior finale.

Williams wants his team to work on switching from offense to defense and then back to offense over the final three matches.

“We need to work on transition,” he said. “On defense, we need to tighten back up as quickly as possible so we do not get any counters against us. That is pretty much what we have been working on. Trying to tighten up that space and not rolling around to a ball and containing. We will work on those same things tomorrow.”

Dowagiac outshot Sturgis 10-2 with Alejandro Martinez being credited with two saves. Williams said he has made steady improvement throughout the season.

“Today was a totally different Alejandro from compared to Plainwell,” he said. “After the Plainwell game, we had a specific practice with just goalkeepers. He is already a skilled goalkeeper, but he was lacking the confidence on how far he could come out to get balls. He was second-guessing his decision-making on when he should go or not. We just worked on getting comfortable with his distance.”

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