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Luke Smith’s toughness sets tone in Manistee’s district soccer semifinal win vs. Whitehall

Mariners rally from early deficit, seize monentum with late first-half goal in 3-1 victory vs. Vikings.

Photos by Shayla Hardy for CatchMark

WHITEHALL — Manistee’s Luke Smith was in the wrong place at the wrong time when a soccer ball violently lined off his face in the first half of a Division 3 district semifinal Wednesday night against Whitehall.

By the end of the evening, he was able to smile about it. His Manistee squad defeated host Whitehall, 3-1, and earned a spot in Saturday’s 2 p.m. district final against Fremont.

Smith did not score any goals, but he did set the tone with his toughness. The senior left the game momentarily so an athletic trainer could clean up blood around his nose and mouth and clear him with concussion protocol, but he returned moments later.

Watch the video below to hear from Smith and Manistee coach Brandon Prince as well as from Whitehall coach Adam Prince:

Here are details and notables from the match:

  • Whitehall struck first, getting on the board 10 minutes into the contest. Senior Kyler Frees netted the goal, staying on his hot streak from last week’s 9-0 district-opening win over Newaygo when he tallied a hat trick.
  • Manistee tied it at 1 with 8:23 left in the first half on a Luke Senters goal.
  • Perhaps the biggest turning point of the game came with 30 seconds left in the half, when Manistee took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Mason Robinson. It proved to be the game-winner.
  • Manistee put the finishing touches on the win with a goal in the final moments of the game.
  • Manistee will be looking for redemption when it faces Fremont in Saturday afternoon’s district final at Whitehall. On Oct. 4, Fremont clinched the West Michigan Conference championship with a 4-0 victory at Manistee.
  • Whitehall closes its season with a 7-10-1 record.



Manistee senior Luke Smith took a nasty shot off the face during a district soccer semifinal against Whitehall. He was tended to by an athletic trainer, passed concussion protocol, and was back in the game in no time. This kid wanted to win. That’s one bad dude! #fyp #catchmarksportsnet #csn #manistee #manisteemariners #soccer #ballintheface

♬ Game Day – ROKKA

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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