The All-City Boys Soccer Tournament championship trophy is returning to Lakeview High School – thanks to some shoes from Sweden.
Lakeview senior Theodor Pfeiff, a foreign exchange student from Sweden, collected a corner kick and found the back corner of the net with 30:16 remaining in the second half, lifting the Spartans to a 2-1 victory over Battle Creek Central in the All-City Final on Saturday.
“It was right there on my shoes,” Pfeiff said of his game-winning goal. “That goal was just heart. Then we kept it up and played with heart.”
The goal was Pfeiff’s fifth in six games since joining the team.
“It’s a different place, but it’s so fun to just come here and just play,” Pfeiff said. “We play more defensive back at home – we play back, own the ball… Here I always get the ball to me, so it’s wonderful.
For Lakeview (3-4-2), the victory was especially satisfying after Battle Creek Central ended the Spartans’ six-year city championship run a year ago.
“Our group of seniors – there are a couple that played up the last couple years, so they’ve got medals – but our group of seniors obviously last year lost it as juniors,” said Lakeview head coach Ciaran Byrne. “This will be their first medal, so it means a ton. It’s nice to get it back and we fought hard and played a great game.”
The Spartans got on the board first when senior Cooper Grosteffon scored on a free kick with 13:31 to play in the first half.
“Cooper takes quite a few (fee kicks), and doesn’t normally play a hard, low shot like that and he went for it and it worked out,” Byrne said. “It was a good decision and a great hit.”
Battle Creek Central (2-10-1) made the Spartans earn the city title, with junior Isaac Engelhardt coming up with six big saves in goal.
Senior midfielder Cesar Duran scored the equalizer goal for the Bearcats on a penalty kick with 1:39 to play before halftime.
“We needed to execute more. We needed to find the back of the net,” said Battle Creek Central coach Brad Yoder. “We got the penalty kick -that’s not really a goal I can count as something we created… We’ve just got to find a way to be a little more creative – we’re playing a little too straight forward at times. We just need to look to change fields and do some different things.”
Yoder added some perspective for his team – which has played this season in honor of Bladimir ‘Blady’ Patino, a senior captain who was fatally injured in a traffic accident in June.
“That keeps being the theme, and it’s hard for them to get into their head, it doesn’t have to be about winning, it has to be about effort,” Yoder said. “I feel like we’ve had that the past two games, where we feel like we’re walking away with an effort that he would be proud of of we could be proud of, whereas before we thought we needed to get the result. For me, we’re out here working hard, so I’m happy.”
PENNFIELD 2, HARPER CREEK 1
Pennfield won the consolation contest of the All-City Tournament behind two goals from Chase Austin. Archie Smith and Isaac Ayers had an assist apiece for the Panthers, while Keith Browand made 10 saves in goal.
Nick Buckley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley