By Coach Lenny Dale, Soccer Coach, Athletic Director, and Phys. Ed. Teacher
Oct. 3: Second Half of Season Starts With Win Against Washtenaw Christian
The Emerson Middle School soccer team hosted Washtenaw Christian Academy Monday, to begin the second half of their season. Gabe Kellman had the scoring touch early, including a header off a corner from Zack Kubisiak, staking the Eagles to a 2-0 lead, before WCA scored on a well-struck free kick from 25 yards out that came down under the cross bar and just inside the post to keeper Thor Helgeson’s right. Gabe got the goal back soon enough, though, for his hat trick, and Zack kept assisting on goals, setting up Arjun Bajaj and Luka Hecht, both before the half, and Emerson was comfortably ahead, 5-1. In the second half, Steven Theisen converted a nice lead pass from Gabe, and Grant Murphy twice found the net, bringing the final score to 8-1 in favor of the Eagles.
For all the offensive fireworks, it was the defense that, yet again, quietly did yeoman’s work. Gillian Giordano, Luka, Kieran Heung, Alexander Bauer, and Steven shared duty along the back 3, and Gabe, Steven and Grant shared time at defensive center mid, forming a defensive diamond that consistently shut down the opposition.
Oct. 4: Win Against St. Francis Improves Emerson Record to 7-0
The Emerson Middle School soccer team earned their 7th win without a loss Tuesday, besting St. Francis, 7-0. The Mustang keeper played an excellent game, the final score notwithstanding. The Eagle defense completely shut down the Mustangs until the final few minutes, when St Francis was able to muster a few chances against a younger Emerson back line. The Eagle keepers, Michael Needham, Ian Lewis and, at the end, Luka Hecht, handled everything that came their way though, and the duo of Gabe Kellman and Luka provided more than enough scoring. Gabe scored four on the day, and Luka added a hat trick, while a number of others came close, but couldn’t quite finish. Part of the issue was generally slow ball movement.
Emerson plays at Ann Arbor Christian on Thursday, and will need to get cleaner finishes, and quicker play overall, if they are to continue to their season undefeated.
Oct. 6: Big Road Trip Win Against Ann Arbor Christian
The Emerson Middle School soccer team went up US23 to take on Ann Arbor Christian School Thursday afternoon, for a match-up that would go a long way toward determining the AAIAA regular season champion. AACS had been the only team to score more than a single goal and also to hold a lead against the Eagles this season, and playing them on their home pitch in the unseasonable heat promised a hard-fought game.
The game opened with both teams making runs deep into their offensive zones, and AACS had a decent chance early, but their shot from the corner of the 18-yard box crossed outside the far post. Emerson gradually began to have the better of the play, though unable to quite punch through the AACS defense, which was bringing all but one player back into their 18-yard area, clogging things up. Finally, in the 16th minute, Gabe Kellman held the ball at the corner of the 6-yard box, turned two defenders, fed Luka Hecht directly in front of the goal, Luka buried it, and the Eagles started finding creases, gaps, and the net. Gabe had a shot blocked, but Lance Caswell was there to put away the rebound, and then Gabe scored two in a row, followed by Luka getting his second just before the half. What had been a fairly tense game was suddenly 5-0, and the Emerson kids were feeling confident about the way they were playing. Gabe scored on a free kick in the second half, and, while AACS did score midway through the period, the Eagle defense was able to reassert itself. The AACS midfielder who had scored a hat-trick in the first meeting between the teams was visibly frustrated by the defensive attention of Luka, who was on him like spots on dice throughout this game. Zack Kubisiak quickly got that one goal back, re-establishing a 6-goal margin at 7-1, and then Zack added the coup de grace, bringing the final tally to 8-1. It was all over but the shouting. Once again, the Eagle defense was suffocating, with Kieran Heung, Julian Skifstad, Gillian Giordano, Alex Bauer, Gabe, Luka, Zack, and, frankly, the entire team making life miserable for AACS.
Emerson is in commanding position to be the season champs, with a perfect record through 8 games. Two games remain on the regular season schedule – a home game Monday, 10/10, with Steiner School, followed by a trip to Washtenaw Christian on Thursday, 10/13, both starting at 4o’clock.