JACOB RUMMER . . . (12) collides with a Flint Powers Catholic goalkeeper while Shafer Webb (3) looks on. The Eagle varsity boys’ soccer team lost a close 4-3 decision to Powers. The team is currently 2-2 overall this season.
Eagle kickers split first four games of the season
The 2014 Frankenmuth Eagle boys’ soccer team has some work cut out for them this year, replacing the top offensive and defensive players from last season’s record setting team. That, however, didn’t seem to faze them in the opening contests of the season as they faced a difficult early non-conference season schedule and emerged with a very respectable 2-2 record.
The Eagles opened at home, entertaining Division 1 foe Flushing and got a first half goal from junior Jake Rummel and a solid effort in net from junior Jakob Baarck to secure a 1-0 win. Early on, the game was relatively uneventful as the two squads probed each other for weaknesses, with much of the action concentrated in the middle of the field. Finally at the 23 minute mark Frankenmuth had the game’s first serious scoring opportunity, but Leo Dominguez’s shot went just wide of the net. Flushing returned the favor at the 31 minute mark, but Eagle keeper Baarck was up to the task, stopping a point blank shot that was targeted for the lower right hand corner.
The offensive action continued as Frankenmuth responded with a quick break away. Speedy striker Kyle Schmitzer took a pass just across midfield, spun and sent a through ball to a sprinting Rummel coming down the left side. Rummel sent a chip shot over the charging Flushing keeper and into the net for a 1-0 Frankenmuth lead at the half.
Frankenmuth continued with heavy pressure for the next several minutes but was unable to muster another score. The second half opened with another early opportunity for Frankenmuth as Rummel, Schmitzer and senior Colton Zimmer buzzed the net, ending in a rocket shot off the crossbar and a mad scramble in front of the Flushing net, but no score.
Solid defense the rest of the way from Frankenmuth defenders John Eric Worden, Nate Zimmerman, Luke Pendleton, Denver Bonkowski and a host of subs off the bench kept Flushing’s speedy front line from getting good looks at the net. Baarck, who played with confidence in net in his first varsity start, was a brick wall.
Game two saw the Eagles host defending Division 3 state champions Flint Powers Catholic. Frankenmuth twice rallied from two goals down in the second half to tie the score, only to see Powers score on penalty kick with two minutes remaining, sending the Eagles to a hard fought 4-3 loss.
Frankenmuth got goals from Rummel, Elliott Trombley and Jack Lee to rally from deficits of 2-0 at the half and 3-1 in the second half, but Powers got the benefit of a tough foul call inside the 18-yard box near the end of regulation and converted the ensuing penalty kick.
The first half was dominated by Powers as they jumped to a two goal advantage. Both goals resulted from deep runs down the sideline past Eagle defenders followed by crossing passes into the middle. On the second goal, Baarck dove to deflect the crossing pass, but the deflection ended up on the foot of a Charger, who drove it home for the 2-0 lead.
Powers nearly took a 3-0 lead as an errant clearing pass was intercepted and fired off the crossbar early in the second half, but the momentum changed when Rummel took a centering pass and fired a low hooking shot into the lower left corner of the Powers net, cutting the lead to 2-1. Frankenmuth was clearly reenergized by the Rummel goal, but Powers temporarily quieted the storm with a laser shot from Alex Clark off a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box, following a Frankenmuth foul.
Yet the Eagles refused to go away, and following a hand ball in the box call against Powers, Trombley drove home a PK to cut the lead to 3-2.
Before Powers had a chance to catch their breath, a nifty give-and-go play between Lee and Nathan Zimmerman allowed Lee to rip a low shot past the Charger keeper and tie the score with 14 minutes left to play. It appeared the game was headed for a tie when the crucial foul call against Frankenmuth and ensuing penalty kick gave the Chargers the 4-3 win.
Later in the week, the Eagles meat grinder schedule continued with a trip to Midland High, another strong Division 1 opponent for the season’s third game.
Frankenmuth appeared a little flat after the emotional loss to Flint Powers and came away on the short end of 2-0 loss. Despite the shutout loss, Frankenmuth’s defense played a solid game that kept the Eagles in the hunt until late in the contest.
And finally, last Thursday Frankenmuth hosted Bay City Western, another Division 1 opponent, in a game that saw Frankenmuth dominate statistically, but needed a score on a late free kick from Lee to pull out a 2-1 victory.
It proved to be a rough day for Baarck, the Eagle goalkeeper, as he left the game twice with injuries. Baarck injured his left leg in a collision while diving for a ball and was forced to exit the contest. He returned to the game just eight minutes later only to take a cleat to the side of the head in a scramble for a loose ball near the net. Several stitches later, Baarck is expected to miss little or no future action, but that temporarily forced goal keeping duties on senior Mitchell Kischnick, who limited the Warriors to one goal in the match.
The Eagles outshot Western 7-2 in the first half but were able to put only one ball into the net. Lee passed it in short off a corner kick and took a quick return pass which he sent hurtling across the goal. A perfectly timed leap by junior Bryce Reinert resulted in a header into the back of the Warrior net, giving Frankenmuth the 1-0 advantage.
The Eagles applied pressure for the remainder of the half but came up empty and settled for the one goal advantage at the break.
The second half started out much like the first, with Frankenmuth controlling play, but a speedy counterattack breakaway down the left side put a Warrior one-on-one with Kischnick. As the Eagle keeper came out of the net to cut down the angle the Bay City Western attacker fired a shot which ricocheted off the leg of Kischnick and into the goal, tying the score at 1-1.
The Eagles turned up the heat following the game tying goal with runs deep into Warrior territory leading to several corner kicks. Finally, in the 68th minute, Western was whistled for a foul directly in front of the net, just outside the 18-yard box and Lee ripped the free kick through the Western wall and past the keeper for the final 2-1 margin.
Veteran Frankenmuth head coach John Ayala summarized the early season this way, “In 15 calendar days, we have had three tryout days, played three scrimmage games and four regular season games, including one against the Defending D3 Champion and three Division 1 teams from the Saginaw Valley League. That is challenging for any team, but when considering that 13 out of our 20 team members are first year varsity players, it was indeed very ambitious.”
“I feel confident that all of our players have had enough meaningful minutes thus far to prepare us well as we start conference play next week,” Ayala continued. 𠇎ven though two of our players are questionable to play next week, the remaining 18 are primed and ready to go; even if necessary to play out of their normal position. That is the nature of this team; bench strength and interchangeability.”
The Eagles begin defense of their Tri-Valley East conference title at North Branch on Wednesday, September 3.