A game that had the ebb and flow of tides was decided on a set piece in the 57th minute. Kyle Burks, who’s passing and focus I commented on after their win over Howell Central Saturday, set up outside the corner of the 18 yard box and while everyone prepared for a ball to the far post and the Spartan’s Josh Lindell to crash the net, he instead slotted a ball into Avi Wesseh’s path and the fleet winger finished to the far post. It was Wesseh’s team leading third goal.
PHOTO GALLERY – DeSmet wins at CBC
It was an interesting choice. The two teams have featured in some epic battles the past two years, with DeSmet winning Districts in 2015 and advancing to the Class 4 Final, followed by CBC’s District win last year to go with their eighth State title. It’s the rubber match this year for the seniors and I for one don’t know that I’d have shown my hand this early in the season. It does offer a significant confidence boost for the Spartans but in the card game that comes with three games a year, it’s that final one that means the most.
DeSmet opened with their trademark high pressure and kept CBC in a very defensive posture until about 15 minutes when the Cadet’s passing game finally kicked in. Nick Dempster’s ability to find space and hold the ball before releasing Reese McKell, or more significantly, Sam Benoist and Nate Temm on the wings was a key. He also had a couple of the best chances including one in the final seconds that Jr Logan Payne anticipated well and held his ground. The junior has been a revelation, joining the varsity this year and giving DeSmet the confidence they need to go forward, something they do in waves.
Nick Randazzo showed off his chops in goal for the Cadets as ell. The most significant came late in the first half when I think Shaun Linkogel found a seam and got in alone. Randazzo made a diving save on the initial shot, got up to stop the second attempt by a DeSmet attacker following the play and then got up again to snatch the ball out of the air. Huge regardless but especially important in keeping the Spartans off the board just before halftime. The MCC has got some high quality goalkeeping this year.
One other factor I’ll mention. I haven’t listened to all of my audio notes from the match yet but there were three yellow cards against DeSmet in the second half, all for physical play. Nick Grewe, caught throwing an elbow in a challenge with Nolan DeWeese, Matt Lucas arriving late in a challenge with Colten Walsh (a midfielder, unlike what you may have read elsewhere) that saw Lucas walking to the bench before the center had a chance to pull the card. It’s part and parcel of their style, as they press and challenge and force their opponents to adjust or be beaten. Something to watch for as the season progresses.
The Spartans will face CBC on October 12th in their MCC League match and the odds are good the two teams will once again play each other in the District Final later that month. The Spartans will face Vianney Thursday at 5pm in the second round of the CBC Soccer Tournament while CBC hosts SLUH in the second match at 7pm.