Southfield-Lathrup soccer players presented coach Steven Motter with an emotionally uplifting victory Thursday when they defeated Ferndale, 8-0.
Motter played at Ferndale and coached the Eagles for 16 seasons. It was the first time he coached against his former team.
“This was a big game for us, me especially, but for the players as well,” Motter said. “We’re trying to compete in our division, and Ferndale was an obstacle in our way.
“The boys really found their groove early by getting on the board in the first minute and setting all the nerves at ease.
“After that, they settled in and put everything we have been working on in practice and the first few games into their play.”
Junior Jimmie Williams Jr. and senior Devin Witcher led the Chargers with three goals apiece. Williams also had one assist.
Senior Emanual Nsiah and sophomore Mustafa Nakshali netted one goal each. Senior Abdoul Diaw also had four points on four assists.
Senior Solomon Oleteju and sophomore Jackson Vails chipped in an assist. Senior Seth Garrett stopped all five shots to earn the shutout in goal.
Motter also cited the defensive group of Zach Winfrey, Tyler Arnold, Jalen Bean, Sana Jatta and Gora Diop for its solid play.
“We were finishers today, which is one of the things we have to keep working on – not just finishing goals but finishing games, playing whistle to whistle,” Motter said.
“We did that today. Hopefully, it was an “ah-ha” moment and we will keep it up. It was an all-around fantastic performance by the whole team.”
It was the second straight win for the Chargers, who led 5-0 at halftime. Both teams are 2-1 in the OAA Blue Division. Lathrup is 3-1 overall, Ferndale 2-8-1.
The Chargers also mercied Pontiac Academy of Excellence in non-league play Tuesday, 8-0.
Nakshali paced the victory with four goals. Diaw scored one goal and assisted on three others; Winfrey had one goal and one assist.
Jatta and Williams accounted for one goal apiece, and Witcher chipped in two assists. Garrett and Diop guarded the net and shared the shutout.
“The guys took a little while to get going,” Motter said. “When we finally found our legs, we did a great job moving the ball and finishing plays.
“We’re still learning how to play together and within a system, and today was a good step in the right direction.”