Leland soccer team kicks off to 3-0 start
But you’d never know after the 3-0 start the Comets have had, including winning their own Boynton Invitational Saturday for the first time since 2005.
“The guys played pretty well for the first weekend,” Leland coach Joe Burda said. “It’s great for these guys to take home a trophy. They deserve it.”
The Comets also beat Harbor Springs Light Christian, 9-1, on Tuesday, with three guys on the bench nursing injuries.
Two other county schools — Northport and Suttons Bay — are also hurting after losing their starting keepers before the regular season even began.
“It was an interesting week,” Northport coach Marshall Collins said after he was surprised to see Roman arrive at Sunday’s practice in a wheelchair.
“He’ll be out for some weeks.”
First-year Suttons Bay coach Ben Darling saw his keeper go down in a preseason scrimmage.
“It’s a big loss ... but hopefully it’s just a sprain and with time, he should recover fully,” Darling said.
Northport managed to win its opener Tuesday, 3-2 over Cadillac Heritage Christian. Suttons Bay was not as fortunate, losing at Bellaire 5-2.
“We have had a decent start and have scored several goals, but we still have a lot to improve on to be where we want to be,” Burda said. “And we are still trying to get everybody healthy.”
Leland has gotten a big kick out of senior forward Dylan Jolliffe, who scored three goals each in the first two games. He had three more by halftime against Harbor Light and added two more in the second half. The striker has 91 career goals.
Freshman Omar Roman scored the other goal against Reed City.
“We controlled most of the game, but did spend a bit of time kicking off the rust from last season,” Burda noted.
Charlevoix, which beat Manistee 4-0, was no match for the Comets.
In addition to Jolliffe’s three goals, senior Matt Fleis had two goals. Luke Nesbitt added a goal. Roman and freshman Mikey Osorio also scored goals.
“The guys played pretty well for the first weekend,” Burda said. “We are still not 100 percent healthy and are learning to play together as a new group.
“But the guys put together a few good things and we finished some great opportunities.”
The Comets were up 4-1 at the half against Harbor Light after three goals by Jolliffe and one by Fleis. Cam Stowe started the second half scoring. Jolliffe scored on a direct kick and again on a breakaway. John Van Raalte scored on a rebound and Roman’s header in the final minute ended the mercy contest.
Mike Farese got the victory in net against Harbor Light as the Comets out-shot the home team, 39-6. He had five saves. The Comets also play Saturday in the Elk Rpaids tournament before hosting Northport on Monday.
Northport saw Heritage Christian strike first, but senior Bill Stowe tied the match with a goal and senior Alex Thelander added another for a 2-1 lead in the first half.
Hernandez, who assisted both goals, scored the game-winner in the second half after Heritage had tied the match.
Keeper Andy Sleder, who would have been an outside midfielder, had six saves, earning his first varsity win in net.
“Andy stepped up to the plate and started to really get the hang of it,” Collins said. “The team was a bit timid, but may have been over excited about their first game.
“I was happy to get the win and get back in the mix of things. The team did a lot of good things but we still have some work ahead of us.”
The Wildcats play at Leland on Monday.
Darling’s debut for the Norse did not go as planned. The visitors fell behind 3-0, including giving up a goal in the first 30 seconds.
The Norse, however, struck quickly in the second half with two goals by Logan Mikesell.
“We started off slow, but ended up getting right back in the game,” Darling said. “And we played pretty well in the second.
“They ended up getting a few goals late as we were pressing for the tie.”
The Norse return to action today at Ludington before hosting Buckley next Wednesday.
Glen Lake kicks off its season Saturday with the Glen Lake Invitational.