Chips edged by Traverse City Central

MANISTEE — Manistee boys soccer came up just short of topping Traverse City Central at home Thursday, giving up two unanswered goals to fall 2-1.

“(TCC is) a Division 1 team — a big team with big players,” said Manistee head coach Brandon Prince. “I think our guys stuck to the gameplan and it showed. We took that lead and held that lead for a while. A couple unfortunate things at the end there makes it interesting, makes it a good game, but ultimately we would have liked to hold on and pull out that win.”

After a scoreless first half, the Chippewas (0-4) ended the drought when Luke Kooy found the back of the net off an assist from Will Elbers with 19:36 left in the contest.

“It went right as planned,” Prince said. “We talked about how we were going to get there at halftime. You could see the couple opportunities we had right after halftime. It fizzled out before it got into the last third, and then once they executed what was talked about, it worked. I’m glad they finally listened.”

The Trojans (2-0) knotted things up when George Abner assisted on a goal by Stevie Mast that bounced just over the arms of a diving Drew Schlaff with 11:01 on the clock.

“(TCC) really turned up the intensity in the second half, which we expected,” Prince said. “We knew we were going to have to hold on and play disciplined defense, and the guys did.”

Traverse City Central scored the go-ahead goal with 8:30 on the clock when Everest Noyes lobbed the ball over the outstretched arms of Schlaff off an assist by Andrew Ford.

It is fortunate Manistee’s goalkeeper jersey is green, as the grass stains caused by all the leaping, diving and sliding saves Schlaff made throughout the course of the night to keep the Chippewas in the game will be masked by the similarly colored attire.

“That’s his job and he does a good job for us,” Prince said. “Now we just have to clean up some of the times that we don’t allow shots to get off, but ultimately we want to create those bad opportunities for them and they’re going to get them and they did today.

“You see a lot of shots go over and wide, and things like that that aren’t on goal,” he continued. “Those are the things we want to keep with, but now it’s just getting the ones off the front of the net.”

Some losses feel better than others, and a 2-1 loss to a Division 1 foe while Manistee had a skeleton crew in uniform leaves the Chippewas with plenty of reasons to hold their heads high.

“We had one sub tonight,” Prince said. “We had 12 guys, and to watch these guys play the minutes they did against a team of that caliber, that’s just impressive. That’s who we want to be and I’m proud of them.”

Manistee next sees action with a game at Kingsley Wednesday at 5 p.m.

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