Photos by Zach Zweigle | CatchMark
The Montague soccer team had high hopes for a playoff run, but those plans never materialized in a 3-2 first-round loss in Division 3 district play at home Wednesday.
Despite defeating Manistee in the season opener, Montague was unable to pull it off with the season on the line. The Chippewas had a game plan coming into the district playoffs, and they executed it to a tee.
The Wildcats finish their season with an 11-7-2 record.
Manistee (8-12) advances to the district semifinal against Hart at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Big Rapids. The Chippewas appear to be peaking at the right time.
“We came in with a mindset that we’ve built over the last month, designed to prepare us for strong teams.” Manistee coach Brandon Price said. “The game plan worked and we came out on the right side.”
The Chippewas jumped out to an early lead, scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes of play. The first goal was a header from Ben Schlaff, assisted by Arturo Mariniello. The second goal came from Arthur Meyer on a crisp Jacob Sharp pass.
Just before half, Montague countered with a goal from Christopher Aebig.
Manistee’s 2-1 lead remained solid until late in the contest, when Schlaff added a tally on a penalty kick.
The resilient Montague squad continued to fight and scored on an Owen Raeth PK in the last few minutes of the game, but it was not enough to overcome Manistee.
“Our team stayed composed and kept their structure in Montague trying to make their last drive,” Price said. “We knew Montague would push strong, hard and fast, but I think the guys held it together well.”
Although a talented Montague team fell short, the Wildcats appear to have a bright future to look forward.
“The boys played their hearts out in the second half,” Montague coach Brandon Mahoney said. “It was an amazing season with some amazing boys.”
Watch the full replay of the Montague vs. Manistee soccer match below.
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