Not much separated the three area girls soccer teams who played in the East Lansing Invitational on Saturday, but Mason, DeWitt and East Lansing are heading in different directions early in the season.
Five of the six games in the tournament, which also featured Mount Pleasant, ended in a tie, with the Mason taking the only win, 2-0 over East Lansing to claim the title.
Hannah Darmofal and Brooke Beaune scored Mason’s goals in their win over the Trojans, and Erica Bartlett scored for the Bulldogs in their 1-1 tie with Mount Pleasant. Mason and DeWitt played to a 0-0 tie.
“I was happy that the defense gave up only one goal today,” Mason coach Christie Hursey said. “The unit is very strong, our keeper did a really nice job of keeping them out of the net, that’s a really big positive from today.”
Mason plays a short-passing possession game, but has struggled at times so far this season creating scoring chances in proportion to the time they possess the ball. Hursey said that she is not worried about her attack going forward.
“That is a direct result of not being outside and playing on a big field,” she said. “This is our second day of playing, and I think it was really reflected in the way we played. Just playing games will help us a ton as a team.
“I’m confident that we can score goals and I’m confident that we can improve our attack.”
Although they tied all three games, DeWitt may have taken a step backward due to a continuing rash of injuries. In addition to losing State Journal Dream Teamer Natalie Knauf for the year earlier in the season, the Panthers also lost Jenna Krause and Courtney Wood, who each sustained groin injuries on Saturday.
“They played in the first half (in the third game, against East Lansing) a little bit, but I’m going to save them,” DeWitt coach Jamal Mubarakeh said. “I have six players out, and 18 on the roster.
“No excuses, but you could tell that we got so tired. We had three games today, and it’s tough. I hope everybody can get healthy so that we can really show what we’ve got. When we get more time outdoors, we’ll start clicking better. It will be like two different teams.”
Despite taking the only loss of the day, he Trojans finished on an upswing, rebounding from that defeat by coming from behind twice to tie DeWitt 2-2 in the last game of the day, a result that East Lansing coach Jeff Lyon said would give his team a boost of confidence going forward.
“To play DeWitt to a 2-2 tie after the start we had this season, we like the direction we’re going right now,” Lyon said.