DeWitt scored four second-half goals, and climbed into the driver’s seat in the CAAC Red girls soccer title race with an impressive 4-0 win at previously unbeaten St. Johns on Tuesday.
Freshman Mackenzie Dawes scored two goals and Brianna Bishop and Courtney Wood had one goal each for the Panthers (5-2-4 overall, 3-0 CAAC Red), who were without the services of head coach Jamal Mubarakeh. Mubarakeh is recuperating from minor surgery and is expected back for DeWitt’s game on Thursday.
DeWitt assistant coach Darus Ward said that he considered this the most important game of the year so far.
“We had a great game against Haslett on Tuesday and then played poorly against Fenton on Friday, so we needed more passion for today’s game,” Ward said. “And it was there the whole game.”
The first half ended scoreless, with possession about even between the Panthers and Redwings (7-1, 2-1), although DeWitt created the more dangerous chances.
“We have not been tested up to this point, and the first half was the best half of soccer we’ve played all season,” St. Johns coach Kim Brewbaker said. “In the second half, we got tired and made a couple of mistakes that cost us. But overall, I was very pleased with the girls’ performance.”
Dawes finally opened the scoring with a fine individual effort nine minutes after the break, when she made a strong run into, and through, the heart of the Redwing defense and made a cool finish past a helpless Hannah Trevino in the St. Johns goal.
Dawes’s second goal came just over four minutes later, placing a right-footed shot low and to the right of Trevino, assisted by Wood.
Bishop made the score 3-0 with a strong header of a Jordyn Swanson corner kick with 16:24 left, and Wood completed the scoring on a penalty kick with 8:49 left that made the final score 4-0.
Ward said that his halftime talk was simple.
“I just told them to relax,” he said. “We had a lot of chances in the first half, the final third was the most important part we were lacking. They were a little tense, and I just told them to go out and have fun playing soccer with their friends.”