By Lenny Dale, Emerson Athletic Director and Soccer Coach
Emerson Soccer got off to a strong start in the 2018 season, hosting Spiritus Sanctus Plymouth on September 13. The first quarter of the game was a back and forth affair, but the Eagles started to assert themselves and find their rhythm. In the 20th minute, Michael Needham found Vince Vartanian with room to shoot, and Vince buried it for the first goal of the season. Just before the half, Fred DeBord made it 2-0 on a back-heel off a scramble at the corner of the net, and the tone was set. Vince’s second made it 3-0 five minutes into the second half, then served Lance Caswell in front, and Lance brought the score to 4-0. Michael Needham got his second, followed closely by a Spiritus Sanctus tally which made it 5-1, but Lance got his second to return the lead to 5, and Arjun Bajaj finished off a pass from Vince to cap the scoring at 7-1.
Steiner School was next to come to Bateson Field, on September 18, and the Eagles picked up where they’d left off, Vince again opening the scoring, followed closely by Naveen Owens, who made it 2-0 in the 12th minute. Naveen’s corner 3 minutes later found Loui Gabaron, who headed it in, and then Loui put in his second of the season to bring the score to 4-0. Vince finished the scoring for the first half, and things didn’t last much beyond that. Arjun scored twice to open the second half, and then Dominic Schuster’s goal ended the game 20 minutes early with the Eagles 8th of the day.
Emerson went on the road on the 20th, travelling north to Ann Arbor Christian School’s field to take on the ‘other’ Eagles team. AACS had a couple games under their belt, including an 11-0 victory that suggested this game would be considerably tougher than Emerson’s previous two, and that suggestion was borne out. The two teams feinted and parried for a good 20 minutes before Vince Vartanian put Emerson up 1-0 on a strong shot from just inside the right corner of the penalty area, inside the far post. That lead held into the second half, Emerson generally having the better of the play but unable to add on, when AACS was able to score off a scramble in front of the Emerson net. The resulting tie was short-lived, as Michael Needham gave Emerson the lead back in the 40th minute, followed by numerous additional Emerson chances that were turned away by the AACS keeper. In the 50th minute Vince struck again, giving Emerson a bit of breathing room with a 3-1 lead. AACS did manage to cut the lead to 3-2, but Emerson was generally putting a great deal of pressure on the AACS goal, hitting the crossbar, a post, and getting off a number of strong shots that the keeper barely turned away. In the end, Emerson went home with a hard-fought, very sweaty, 3-2 victory, and a strong grip on first place in league play.
Emerson plays at home twice this coming week. On Tuesday, 9/25, Washtenaw Christian visits, and on Thursday, 9/27, Steiner comes back for a ‘friendly’. Both games begin at 4:15.