Chippewas pound Coyotes in district opener

Manistee fullback Ben Doolittle (2) fights off a challenge from Reed City’s Thomas Quinn during the Chippewas’ 5-1 win over the Coyotes in their first-round district match on Monday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Manistee fullback Ben Doolittle (2) fights off a challenge from Reed City’s Thomas Quinn during the Chippewas’ 5-1 win over the Coyotes in their first-round district match on Monday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Manistee advanced to the Division 3 boys soccer district semifinals Monday, and did so in impressive fashion, with a 5-1 win over Reed City at Chippewa Field.

Casper Kosela scored two goals and Elmo Sarabia, Caleb Adamski and Sebastian Larsen had one each for the Chippewas, who will face Big Rapids in Wednesday’s district semifinal at Ludington.

Manistee head coach Brandon Prince said that the key to the win was his team’s running off the ball.

“They filled in space correctly,” Prince said. “You could see the opportunities that we build off just being patient with possession, finding the next guy and building from there.”

Perhaps due to the cold, blustery conditions, both teams took a little while to make any sort of serious attack. While Manistee dominated possession in the first 20 minutes, they created few good chances in that span.

Reed City actually had the first really dangerous opportunity just after the halfway mark of the first half, when a shot by Coyotes junior Ethan Maddox from about 15 yards out forced an excellent diving save from Chippewa keeper Drew Schlaff to keep the game scoreless.

Mnistee finally broke through wirth 10:33 left in the first half, when a cross from the right wing by Marek Nesrsta was mishandled by Reed City keeper Jordan Lofquist. Sarabia was there to tap home the rebound to make the score 1-0.

Midfielder Grant Schlaff assisted on two of the Manistee goals, starting with a perfect through ball that sent Kosela in alone on goal. Kosela’s first-time blast doubled the lead to 2-0 with 7:30 left in the first half.

The Chippewas scored quickly after the break, when they had the strong north wind behind them.

Nesrsta broke through the Coyotes back line and hit a shot that forced Lofquist to make s tough save, but the rebound fell to Adamski, who made no mistake and made the score 3-0 just 1:53 after the break.

Reed City pulled one back, aided by the wind, on a long ball that hung up in the air and just out of the reach of goalkeeper Schlaff. Maddox got to it just ahead of Schlaff and rolled it home to cut the lead to 3-1 with 20:45 left in the contest.

Manistee restored its 3-goal lead less than two minutes later, when a throw-in by Abdiel Nuñez sent Kosela in alone. Hie left-fotted blast made it 4-1 with 19;16 left.

Grant Schlaff set up the final goal of the game with another perfectly weighted, incisive ball, this time to Larsen, who put an exclamation point on the game with 1:05 left that made the final score 5-1.

Prince said that it could have been more.

“With 20 shots on goal and only five goals, we’ve got to put some more in,” he said. “There were some opportunities left on the table that I would like to see finished, especially moving forward.”

Next up for the Chippewas is a district semifinal date with Big Rapids, who defeated Manistee 4-1 back on Oct. 1.

Prince said that the team that will face the Cardinals in the rematch will be a bit different from the one that lost by three goals two weeks ago.

“We had some sickness, some flu on that team and we didn’t necessarily deal all of our cards that night,” Prince said. “I wasn’t looking to put everything on the table in anticipation of this situation. I’m hoping on Wednesday to show them what they didn’t see.”

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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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