By Greg Gielczyk
MANISTEE — Braving inclement weather conditions, the Manistee girls’ soccer team pulled out a 1-0 victory Monday over visiting Hart in the West Michigan Conference.
Creating scoring opportunities wasn’t much of a problem, but managing to finish them once the goal was in sight proved extremely difficult.
A combination of outstanding defensive play, and strong goaltending, kept both teams hamstrung throughout the first half which ended scoreless.
“It was just really difficult conditions to play in and all the girls on the field really had a lot of heart definitely,” Manistee coach Kathy Smith said. “We had a lot of sustained pressure in the first half, when we had the wind going with us. Their keeper did a nice job. We kept trying to go up the middle and there just wasn’t much space there.”
Manistee made an adjustment to start the second half and attempted to use its wings more so the Chippewas could get wider and make it more difficult for the Pirates defense.
But it took awhile for the Chippewas to finally capitalize on the chances they generated.
Jayna Edmondson started Manistee’s only successful scoring opportunity about 15 minutes into the second half when she pushed a pass ahead to Emily Raebler, who made the most of it.
Raebler rifled a shot that eluded the Pirate keeper for the only goal of the game.
The Chippewas’ defense successfully kept the Pirates from scoring the remainder of the game and escaped with their third win in their last four games, which was a tie.
“I thought our midfielders covered a ton of ground in this game, because in the second half especially there was a lot of up and down and broke up a lot of pressure coming down,” Smith said. “Our defense, too, did an awesome job pressing the ball, and we had a lot of good cover for our defenders. I thought our team had a lot of great effort, and heart.”
Allison Kelley, Kate Somsel, Raebler and Laura Ekes were all lauded for their efforts in the midfield.
Manistee (7-1-1 overall, 3-1-1 WMC) has a non-conference game scheduled at Benzie Central on Friday.
Hart (2-5-4 overall, 0-3-2 WMC) hosts Fremont in a WMC contest Wednesday.