McElrath brace leads Chips

 

Anslemo Sarabia (12) gets by two Mason County Central defenders during the Chippewas’ 4-0 win over the Spartans on Monday. Sarabia had one of his team’s goals. (Brian Fogg/News Advocate)

Anslemo Sarabia (12) gets by two Mason County Central defenders during the Chippewas’ 4-0 win over the Spartans on Monday. Sarabia had one of his team’s goals. (Brian Fogg/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Manistee improved to 4-4 with a convincing 4-0 victory over Mason County Central in just their second home game of the season on Monday.

The Chippewas seemed lethargic in the first half and created few decent scoring chances in the first 20 minutes of the game until senior Cameron McElrath scored in the 21st minute.

Manistee would hold the 1-0 lead going into halftime after sleepwalking through 40 minutes.

“First half we came out slow. At halftime we talked about intensity and they came out a little more intense. They were going to 50/50 balls in space better. The passing started coming along,” head coach Brandon Prince said. “Hopefully we can start getting it and find passing lanes in the first 10 minutes of a game, rather than the 50th. That’s what our ultimate goal is. The guys know that and we’re going to start working on that more.”

In the second half the team came out with a sense of urgency and pushed the tempo more than in the first 40 minutes.

A through ball from senior Abel Perez in the 58th minute to senior Logan Maser, and Maser’s nice finish, helped the team open up a 2-0 lead.

Three minutes later McElrath crossed the ball from the left wing to freshman Anselmo Sarabia at the far post for the team’s third goal.

Only 6 minutes later McElrath scored his second goal of the game after what appeared to be a cross found its way into the back of the net.

“We’re starting to calm down and play our game,” McElrath said. “We had a good effort in the second half. We just made some good runs and capitalized on them. Once again our defense held strong, and we kept that zero. That’s what we want. We only need one if we can hold that zero.

“Once we get that spacing, it works, but we still need to work on keeping that a little bit more. It’s starting to come and you can see it.”

In the final 10 minutes Prince was able to mix in some of his newer players in different positions and shift his older players around, too.

“Today I tried of few of them in different spaces, even some of our home players in different spots, to see what works and what meshes well. We’re starting to find little windows of what’s working, but it’s still going to be a work in progress,” Prince said.

Since the beginning of school four new players have joined the soccer team, all of whom are foreign exchange students. The new players include Alejandro Olvera, Erik Grimhusen, Abel Perez, and Florian Nowak.

Perez and Olvera gave the team opportunities on the wings and Grimhusen controlled the ball in the middle.

Prince knows the newer players will face some difficulties transitioning into American soccer, but he does recognize where they will help his team.

“The new guys add the confidence of one-on-one play. Every one I’ve ever had is more than willing to take a guy one-on-one and try a good move.

“A lot of these guys haven’t played on an organized team. Ninety percent of them that come here have never put on a jersey. They come in and they’ve only played pick-up soccer at home. Teaching them position, movement, defense, and things like that is a work in progress,” Prince said.

The Chippewas will return to action on Friday, Sept. 18 at home against Traverse City Christian. That game will be the only time this season that Manistee will play two straight home games.

Prince knows his team needs to work on their possession in the midfield before the next game.

“(Possession) that’s what we focused on in the last week of practice with our midfield game. Holding that midfield and being strong in the midfield, and filling it well even on the defensive end to turn the ball and quickly move it back into the attacking third. I saw signs of it today, but as a team we know we need to get better,” Prince said.

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Posted by Brian Fogg

Brian is the sports writer for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3110 or bfogg@pioneergroup.com.

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