By: Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Manchester Dutchmen Boys Soccer team completed their week on Sept. 27, traveling to Onsted in an Independent Soccer League matchup. They won handily, 9-1, ending the game late in the second half early due to the mercy rule and winning both meetings against the Wildcats this season.
On Sept. 24 the Dutchmen fell in a rematch to the Columbia Central Golden Eagles, 3-1.
With that loss, the Dutchmen are tied for second in the ISL East with Columbia Central behind Lenawee Christian.
Manchester head coach Travis Baker told The Sun Times there’s an intangible thing that is right on the edge of getting this team over the cusp of performing consistently. Some of that might be due to the seniors lost last year, losing them in key positions such as central midfield and goalkeeper. Another reason could be the injuries, the Dutchmen haven’t been able to stay healthy all season, tinkering with lineups from the beginning of the season to find their best starting eleven.
“It’s even not a continual thing,” said Baker on the elusive “thing” that is holding the Dutchmen back. “Sometimes it’s just in spurts or periods where we should be better than what we are. It might be something that simple but it’s not anything I can pinpoint might be a bit of everything. I talked to the seniors a little bit, some of the things they’ve said like losing Jason Riske from last year, we lost a little bit of that grit. A guy who can go and get straight into tackles and things like that, we don’t necessarily have that this year, it might be something like that. Its one of those things, is it shape? Personnel? It’s intangible and I can’t figure out which one it is because we can’t get all three things together at the same time to say, ‘oh it’s that one thing.’”
The Dutchmen have four games remaining, including a rematch against Lenawee Christian, before postseason play and know what they want to improve upon before postseason play.
“We just talked about keeping clean sheets and locking teams down defensively, not giving up petty goals we’ve given up this year,” said Baker. “Playing stronger teams going forward it’s going to have to be a must. We’ve got to lock them down. Might have to sacrifice a little bit in attack to button up, but when we play a little bit more defensively, were really good.”
On Sept. 27 the Dutchmen got on the board early, five minutes on sophomore midfielder Adam Pringle crossed a ball from the left side into the box for freshman Max Edwards, returning from an injury that has kept him out for the past few weeks, who tapped the ball to senior Lenin Fierro for the 1-0 lead.
Pringle would pick up a second assist three minutes later on a corner kick, finding senior midfielder River Spitler unmarked in the box for an easy header.
After Fierro notched his second goal, Edwards found Pringle for a goal, crossing the ball into the six-yard box with Pringle heading it home.
Junior midfielder Jake Rowader scored an unassisted goal halfway through the first half to make it 5-0 and Edwards and sophomore Parker Tungate notched goals to make it 7-0 before the half.
The Wildcats were able to score one before halftime giving the Dutchmen a 7-1 lead at halftime.
Pringle and sophomore Henry Wehrly scored two goals in the second half to end the game early, with around ten-minute remaining to win 9-1.
The Dutchmen host Blissfield on Oct. 1.