Prep soccer: NMCA avenges district loss, moves on to Friday's final
Aaron Chatfield scored three goals Tuesday in leading Burt Lake Northern Michigan Christian Academy to an 8-0 Division IV district victory over Harbor Light Christian.
Chatfield used a tried-and-true formula to spur his Eagles before their Division IV district opener at home Wednesday with Harbor Light Christian.
“Each one of the guys opened their lockers to the front page of the News-Review,” Chatfield said in reference to a report in the Oct. 21, 2010, edition that carried the headline “A Swordsmen stunner: Light upends fourth-ranked NMCA to win district title.”
That was then. This is now.
“It didn’t hurt,” Chatfield said after his Eagles exacted their long-awaited revenge with an 8-0 victory over the Swordsmen. “We’ve been determined in every game we’ve played this year. We’ve got an experienced group of players, but to be honest, maybe there was a little extra motivation.
“They definitely remember who knocked them out (last year).”
The win lifted the Eagles into Friday’s 4:30 p.m. district final against Lincoln-Alcona, a 5-0 winner over Harbor Springs in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
It also gave the Eagles their school-record 22nd win — against no losses — on the season. The previous mark was set by the 2004 team which finished as the state runner-up.
“They’ve been anxious to start districts for the past month,” said Chatfield, whose team is ranked second in the Division IV state coaches poll. “Felt good to get out there on the field and get the ball moving. This was a big win for us tonight.”
Aaron Chatfield scored three goals, and Paul Chatfield and Matt Guimaraes each had two goals and an assist to lead the Eagles.
Marco Patz added a goal and an assist, while Stephen Thompson and Polyos Kulvichien finished with two assists apiece.
NMCA keeper David Thompson made three saves in posting his school-record 16th shutout, while Johnny Brownfield, Wil Lovitt and Robert Taylor were the defensive standouts, coach Chatfield said.
The Eagles will vie for the fifth district title in school history on Friday against Alcona. Their last district title came in 2008.
“We definitely have room to improve for Friday,” coach Chatfield said. “Alcona seems like an athletic team. They have a couple guys up top with some speed. We’ve got to go in with the same determination we’ve had all year (in order to) come out with a district championship. That’s our only goal at this point.”
Lincoln-Alcona 5, Harbor Springs 0
It’s never good to have an off game playing in the district tournament.
That, unfortanately, is what happened to Harbor Springs as they were shutout in their Division IV district semifinal Wednesday.
Lincoln-Alcona scored a pair of first half goals and then quickly added two more goals within the first five minutes of the second half en route to shutting out the Rams.
Lincoln-Alcona will face Burt Lake Northern Michigan Christian Academy at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, in Burt Lake. Harbor Springs closes a 9-13 season.
“We didn’t play our best game and it was not a good day to have an off game,” Harbor Springs coach Ed Fantozzi said. “We should’ve given them a much better game, but we were just off. It happens.”
Fantozzi mentioned Lincoln-Alcona had some talented players, as well as size, that played to their advantage.
“I know they (Alcona) had beaten some teams we had lost to and then they also lost to some teams we had beaten,” Fantozzi said. “We just came into the game weak and they came in strong.”
The game was the final for six Harbor Springs seniors including four starters in the defensive back in Andrew Taylor, Hunter McQuarter, Greg Gallagher and Ian Greene as well as midfielder Jac Talcott and Izak Gracy.
“This season was a step in the right direction for us,” Fantozzi said as the Rams finished with just a single win two seasons ago. “It was the first time we’ve won our own tournament and we had nine wins. That’s what we want to emphazise and keep moving forward.”
Fantozzi lauded the efforts of Forrest Lundgren and John Bailey along with freshman goalkeeper Andrew Morse.
“We had some defensive breakdowns and we were just missing a step, that was the difference,” Fantozzi said. “It’s sad to see the season end, but there’s definitely some positives we can take and the future looks bright for these guys.”