With a share of the Big North Conference title on the line, the Petoskey Northmen boys’ soccer team left it all on the line.
Unfortunately, Traverse City West had other things in mind.
The Titans scored two early goals and made them hold up as they defeated Petoskey, 2-1, in a Big North Conference contest Tuesday at the Click Road Soccer Complex.
With the win, the Titans improve to 14-3-3 overall, 10-0-2 league and clinch the outright Big North Conference title.
Petoskey, 10-8-2, 8-3, was hoping for at least a share of the league title with a win Tuesday and a possible win in their regular season finale Thursday, Oct. 11, at Alpena.
“I’m really bummed out for the guys,” Petoskey coach Zach Jonker said. “We left if all on the field and I couldn’t be prouder of how we fought back. Ultimately West is a very deserving champion. They are very dangerous up top, have the top three scorers in the league (Brandon Montgomery, Daniel Montgomery, Josh Staglich) and have twice as many goals as us in league games.
“Over the course of the season they were the most consistently dominant team.”
West scored two goals in the opening 20 minutes and led 2-0 at halftime before Petoskey pulled within a goal 25 minutes into the second half when Ben Schwartzfisher cleaned up a rebound from an Evan Altman shot.
“We literally had two breakdowns the entire game and West made us pay on both occasions,” Jonker said. “We had nothing to lose in the second half as we could only claim a share of the title with a win. We put West under an incredible amount of pressure.”
Schwartzfisher hit the post with a great volley and the Northmen also had a scrum inside the 6-yard box after a corner in which West had eight guys on the goal line.
“We had a few cracks at it, but just couldn’t slam it home before West cleared it for another corner,” Jonker said. “Corners were 8-0 in the second half in our favor.”
Jonker also credited the strong efforts of goalkeeper Drew Smith along with Noah Honaker and Adam Bayer up the middle.
“Our effort was tremendous throughout,” Jonker said. “We clearly won the second half and we can take a bunch of positives forward as we prep for districts.
“This outcome doesn’t diminish our run of good form,” Jonker added. “I think we will be playing our best soccer of the year when we open district play next week.”
The Northmen will play host to Gaylord in a Division II district match on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Click.
Grayling 7, Charlevoix 3
CHARLEVOIX — The Rayders scored three second half goals, but it wasn’t enough as they dropped a league match Tuesday.
Grayling, 12-4 overall, scored four first half goals and added three more in the second half as the Rayders fall to 6-12.
Prep soccer: League champion T.C. West holds off Northmen, 2-1
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