Chippewas try to weather hectic start

Manistee goalie Brian Fisk makes a save in the second half of Monday’s loss to Ludington at Chippewa Field. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — There was no easing into the season for the Manistee soccer team.

The Chippewas played Mason County Central Friday — the first day the Michigan High School Athletic Association allowed games — followed with two games on Saturday at Leland, then hosted Ludington on Monday.

All together, Manistee (1-3) has five games in the first six days of the season.

“Right off the bat, it’s a huge disadvantage,” Manistee senior Brian Fisk said of the packed schedule. “But at the same time, there isn’t really a good time to ever have a bunch of games.”

With three losses in the first four games, it’s been a bit of a rough start for Manistee.

“You can definitely tell we’re not in game shape,” Manistee coach Rudy Guillen said on Monday. “When we’re making subs like we are so quick, that’s definitely another thing we have to look at. We’ve got to get some running in. I’m not accustomed to subbing that much. I told these boys at half, if you’re not willing to play two 40-minute halves, maybe they don’t need to play.

“We’re going to work on that too,” he added. “It’s not the end of the world. It’s early in the season, we’ve got a lot of games and we’ll just pick up from there.”

One advantage for Manistee, at least on paper, is that the schedule is front-loaded with home games as nine of the first 11 dates are at Chippewa Field.

“It’s nice to start off at home like that,” Guillen said, “but we’re not starting off as quickly as I’d like.”

That left the Chippewas with plenty to go over before today’s game against Benzie Central.

“We’re a young team in a lot of respects — I know I’m only a second-year player,” Fisk said, “and we need that practice time to get the fundamentals down right, right now in the beginning of the season. We’ve just got to come back. We’ve got four games worth of material to cover.”

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from this game.

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