2016-10-06 / Sports

Conference title chase goes down to the wire

Comets keep pace as rival pushes win streak to 10
By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff


LELAND SOPHOMORE Nick Saffell centers a ball Saturday during the team’s homecoming match against Manistee. Saffell’s cross found the foot of freshman Jack Munoz, who calmly deposited the first of three unanswered goals scored by Leland in the 3-1 win. LELAND SOPHOMORE Nick Saffell centers a ball Saturday during the team’s homecoming match against Manistee. Saffell’s cross found the foot of freshman Jack Munoz, who calmly deposited the first of three unanswered goals scored by Leland in the 3-1 win. Joe Burda said it from the start.

“It doesn’t matter who’s in the conference,” said Burda, Leland’s soccer coach. “We expect to win every year.”

A tough, one-goal loss to North Bay on Sept. 27 hasn’t changed that.

Nick Saffell and Noah Fetterolf found the back of the net in overtime Monday as Leland kept pace with North Bay in the league standings with a 2-0 win over visiting Buckley.

Saffell broke a scoreless tie in the first overtime when his shot from outside the box careened off the crossbar and in. Fetterolf added an insurance tally in the second overtime, his 17th.


ETHAN SOMMERFIELD of North Bay vies for possession with a Benzie Central player during last Wednesday’s match, a 1-0 road win for North Bay. 
Photo: Ron Kramer ETHAN SOMMERFIELD of North Bay vies for possession with a Benzie Central player during last Wednesday’s match, a 1-0 road win for North Bay. Photo: Ron Kramer “Buckley packed it in again,” Burda said. “The guys played very well, great possession and ball movement. We should have had a couple goals early on but they kept their heads up.”

Leland (11-4-1, 6-1 NWC) entered yesterday’s game at Glen Lake needing three league wins to secure at least a share of the conference championship for a fourth straight season.

The Comets split their season series with North Bay (14-4, 7-1 NWC) and, if both teams finish with one loss in league play, the increasingly bitter rivals will share the conference title.

Burda, whose team will travel to take on downstate rival Muskegon Western Michigan Christian on Friday, said his Comets have done all they can.

“I like the direction we are heading as long as we keep with it,” he said. “The guys are working. We are doing the little things right and creating chances. We just need to finish — we need to convert one or two of these opportunities in the postseason.

“At least it’s in our hands.”

North Bay wins 10th straight

County scoring leader Brett Dyer was dialed in against visiting Kingsley on Monday, scoring the game’s first four goals as North Bay collected a 6-0 league win on senior night.

The strong offensive showing featured assists on all six goals and moved North Bay one step closer to a share of the league title.

“Six assists on six goals is pretty amazing,” coach Tom Spencer said. “There were some great passes and combinations in the mix. We are playing great team soccer. Oftentimes most of the team gets a touch on the ball on each possession that leads to a goal.”

Dyer, Evan Busby and Ethan Pino found the back of the net in the second half, respectively. Jose Garcia had two assists and Navneet Dhami, Jordan Kiessel, Eli Kramer and Justin McSawby had one assist apiece.

The performance from Dyer gives the junior 25 goals this season, including five hat tricks. Spencer was impressed with the performance.

“It was definitely his night,” he said.

Senior keeper Austin Huck picked up the shutout, his fourth in a row.

The team, which was in action at Buckley after press time last night, has outscored opponents 69-31 this fall.

Second-half surge propels Benzie

Glen Lake showed flashes of offensive potential against visiting Benzie Central on Monday, but defensive lapses in the second half led to a sixth straight loss, 5-2.

The Lakers (5-9, 2-5 NWC) led 1-0 at halftime after a well-placed free kick from Kian Murphy found the head of captain Glen Bredin. The first-half tally was Bredin’s 14th of the season.

Things began to fall apart in the second half, however, as the Huskies scored four unanswered goals.

Oscar Okerlund’s tally from Caleb Gleason trimmed the Benzie lead in half with time winding down, but the Huskies held Glen Lake scoreless from there and added a fifth goal with 20 seconds left on the clock.

“We saw a lot of improvement and the boys are implementing much of what we have worked on in practice,” coach Jason Howes said. “Slowly but surely, our young Laker team is becoming stronger and stronger.”

Comets win homecoming clash

Three unanswered goals from Jack Munoz, Jack Anhut and Noah Fetterolf lifted Leland to a 3-1 win over visiting Manistee on Saturday.

Manistee struck first with 30:07 remaining in the first half, but a well-placed cross from Nick Saffell found the foot of Munoz for the equalizer less than eight minutes later. Anhut buried a penalty kick in the second half for the game-winning goal before Fetterolf laced an insurance tally.

“It was a good win for us,” coach Joe Burda said. “I think we underestimated them from seasons past and played down a level. That allowed them to get on the scoreboard first, but we were able to dig a little and fight for the win.”

Andy Mosqueda had a nice day in net for the Comets, stopping 12 shots.

Huck, North Bay blank Benzie

Brett Dyer’s second-half goal from Evan Busby was the difference last Wednesday as North Bay escaped Benzie Central with a 1-0 win.

North Bay leaned on its veteran back line after Dyer found the back of the net five minutes into the second stanza.

“We have a gifted back line,” coach Tom Spencer said. “We are big, strong and tenacious — and we have eight solid, interchangeable parts. Add to that Austin Huck, who has grown tremendously as a keeper.”

Beemans, Bears shut out Lakers

Rich Beeman had two goals and one assist last Wednesday as Buckley breezed past visiting Glen Lake, 4-0.

Brock Beeman and Denver Cade also scored for the Bears, who avenged a 2-1 loss at Glen Lake on Sept. 12.

“We had been down to Buckley 1-0 before this season and came out with a win,” Glen Lake coach Jason Howes said. “We knew whichever team scored first in the second half would come away with the game. Unfortunately for us, that team was Buckley after a miscommunication at the back. The boys lost their mojo for a while but pulled it together, stringing some great attacks, but again we were left scoreless.”

Calderon leads Leland past Stags

Hugo Calderon had two goals and two assists last Wednesday as Leland cruised to a 6-0 win at Kingsley.

The offensive outburst took place without scoring leader Noah Fetterolf, who served a one-game suspension after being tagged with a red card in the loss to North Bay. Nick Saffell added one goal and two assists. Other scorers were Jack Anhut and Jack Munoz, who had two goals. Hank Guest and Isaiah Roman added one assist apiece.

“Hugo was the main part of the offense,” coach Joe Burda said. “We were aggressive up top and got caught in a few too many offside traps, but Hugo was able to finish a couple nice opportunities and set a couple others up too.”

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