Chips fall to Ludington in district semi, finish season 11-7-2

Manistee’s Anthony Zambrano (8) eludes Ludington’s Caleb Schoon (17) during the Chippewas’ 2-1 loss to the Orioles in the Division 3 district semifinals on Wednesday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Manistee’s Anthony Zambrano (8) eludes Ludington’s Caleb Schoon (17) during the Chippewas’ 2-1 loss to the Orioles in the Division 3 district semifinals on Wednesday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Two days after its thrilling overtime upset of 15th-ranked Whitehall, Manistee was asked to defeat another ranked team in the Division 3 boys soccer district tournament to advance Wednesday.

And the Chippewas nearly did, giving archrival Ludington all they could handle before falling 2-1 at Chippewa Field.

Sirapat Musittimanee scored the only Manistee goal, assisted by Elmo Sarabia, in a game that was played with a stiff South wind that made attacking the South goal extremely difficult.

Manistee lost to the Orioles 5-0 in the Lakes-8 finale just eight days before, and fell 3-0 in Ludington on Sept. 21, but looked like a completely different team in the district semifinal.

Manistee head coach Brandon Prince said that the difference between then and now was simply that the team believed that they could play toe-to-toe with their archrivals.

“I wasn’t displeased by it,” Prince said. “We didn’t possess the best, we didn’t pass the best, but we competed with a quality team. A season like this is good for the program, and hopefully it will carry over to next year.”

Ludington won the toss and elected to have the string wind at their backs in the first half, and the strategy appeared to pay off when they opened the scoring with 24:40 left in the half.

Oriole senior Zach Peterson fed fellow senior Caleb Schoon in the Manistee penalty area. Schoon was able to turn and fire inside the the far post giving Chippewa keeper Shane Harrigan no chance.

Manistee tied the game against the wind late in the half, when a long throw-in by Sarabia found Musittimanee wide open in front. His right-footed first-timer made no mistake, making the score 1-1 with 5:50 left in the half.

Prince said that he was “ecstatic” going into the break with a tie game.

“I knew we had a chance then,” he said.

Ludington very nearly took the lead right back early in the second half, hitting the crossbar 1:15 after the break, but most of the rest of the contest was played in the Oriole half of the field.

Manistee’s best chance came on a free kick from just outside the Ludington box with 33:13 left, but Sarabia’s curling right-footed effort just missed the upper corner.

The Orioles got the game-winer somewhat against the run of play, when Will Flewelling’s corner kick found Ben Knoer at the far post. Knoer laid it off for a too-wide-open Brayden Porter, who made the score 2-1 with 25:26 left.

Manistee threw numbers forward from there in a desperate attempt to equalize, but Ludington’s defense held firm and hung on for the win.

Ludington head coach Kris Anderson said that he knew he would face a tough challenge in the third meeting of the year.

“You can take all those regular-season games and throw them out the window,” Anderson said. “It’s all about winning one game and advancing.”

With the loss, Manistee ends its season with a record of 11-7-2. Prince said that he will look back on a successful season.

“With the first year of a JV (program), we were not a deep (varsity) team with 15 kids,” Prince said. “To come out and compete with the best of the best, to come into districts and face Whitehall and Ludington back-to-back and put a score like that up on the board, I’m very pleased.”

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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