By Coach Lenny Dale, Soccer Coach, Athletic Director, and Phys. Ed. Teacher
Emerson Eagles Defeat AACS 7–4
Emerson’s middle school soccer team hosted Ann Arbor Christian Tuesday. Before the game, as they approached their bench, a couple AACS players told Emerson coach Lenny Dale ‘You’re going down’. Emerson’s Eagles, 4-time defending AAIAA champs, seem to have a target on their collective back.
Emerson got off to a nice start, scoring 5 minutes in. AACS was not without offense of their own, however, countering Emerson attacks with pressure of their own. AACS tied the score midway through the first stanza, on the skill of their fast and skilled center-mid, who split the Emerson defense and placed a strong, accurate shot in off the post to keeper Michael Needham’s right. As the half grew late, the same attacker created separation with his speed at the top of the box and again fired a strong shot into the side panel, and Emerson found themselves behind for the first time this season. Maybe those AACS players, with their ‘You’re going down’, knew something. Emerson came back to tie the game just before the half, and then went about trying to find a way to slow down AACS and their center-mid.
Luka Hecht came up with part of the solution – moving from striker to sweeper, Luka took responsibility for AACS’ primary offensive threat, at the same time giving backs Alexander Bauer, Julian Skiftstad, and Kieran Heung a chance to rotate and rest, with Gillian Giordano joining the back-line corps. The change worked, though the same opponent was able to finish his hat-trick in the second half. Emerson gradually pulled ahead, as Gabe Kellman and Zack Kubisiak brought too much finesse for AACS to handle. Gabe tallied 4 goals on the day, 2 directly off assists from Zack, and Zack showed his own ball control and scoring touch with 2 goals of his own. Emerson came away with a 7-4 win. Going down? Not today.
Finding a way to counter the AACS game plan was a good sign. Giving up 4 goals, 3 off defensive mistakes, is a big concern. Scoring 7, particularly those 6 after falling behind 2-1 late in the first half, was nice. Playing such capable competition should give the kids a better idea of the work that needs to be done to improve, and the contribution each Emerson player is best suited to make in the effort to make this the best team it can be.
The adventure continues Thursday, when Emerson visits Steiner School, which should be no pushover.