Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
HART — Wednesday was not the first time this season that Manistee’s boys soccer team roared back in the second half for a victory on Hart’s field.
This one meant a lot more, however.
The Chippewas used a second-half surge to overcome a halftime deficit and earn a Division 3 district championship with a 3-2 victory, the same score by which they defeated the host Pirates in a West Michigan Conference regular-season match Sept. 12.
Manistee (16-3-0) advances to Tuesday’s 5 p.m. regional semifinal at Clare, where the Chippewas will face the winner of the Alma-Clare district final scheduled for Thursday (Oct. 20).
It’s Manistee’s ninth-straight win and first district title since 2008, when the Chippewas advanced to the regional finals before losing to a Whitehall squad that finished as Division 3 state runner-up.
Hart, which was seeking its first district championship in a decade, closes its season with a 13-7-2 record.
Here are notables and more details from the match:
- During the teams’ regular-season meeting, the teams went into halftime scoreless. Hart took a 2-0 lead, then Manistee answered with three goals in the final seven minutes en route to a 3-2 victory.
- In Wednesday’s district final, Hart broke a scoreless tie about 12 minutes into the game as senior captain Guillermo Ortega sent a well-placed cross from the right side into the penalty area, where junior Josue “Chico” Salgado converted a header to the back post.
- Hart maintained a 1-0 halftime lead. Manistee tied the match about 12 minutes into the second half when the Chippewas were awarded a penalty kick and junior Luke Smith capitalized with a shot just inside the right post.
- Manistee took its first lead about four minutes later. Off a corner kick, Chippewas senior Gres Mandelli was credited with punching the ball into the net from a scrum in front of the goal to make it 2-1.
- Hart answered with about 11 minutes remaining, when senior captain Tony Rayo sidestepped a defender and fired a rocket into the bottom right corner from outside the 18-yard box to tie it at 2.
- Manistee netted the game-winner less than a minute later, when junior Jacob Scharp scored on a rebound. It was Scharp’s second game-winner in three days, as he scored the Chippewas’ lone goal with 25 seconds left in Monday’s 1-0 nail-biter vs. Shelby.
- Hart seniors Tony Rayo and Guillermo Ortega share the Pirates’ single-season assist record with 15 apiece.
- Thirteen wins are the most for Hart has accumulated in a season in a decade.
- Hart graduates nine seniors from this team.
- Hart goalie Kyan Clark was outstanding. The senior captain made several tough saves in his final game in a Pirates uniform.
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