Marine City’s Emilie Andrews heads the ball over St. Clair’s Mackenzie Kent during a soccer game Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at East China Stadium.
EAST CHINA TWP. – Despite the fact it’s still relatively early in the season, neither Marine City nor St. Clair could afford another Macomb Area Conference Gold Division loss Wednesday when the two met, as each already had one.
Neither team took loss No. 2.
The East China School District rivals battled to a 1-1 draw at East China Stadium, as Taylor Malone of St. Clair’s first-half goal was matched by one from Marine City’s Alexiss Woodard in the second half. While both would have loved a win, neither walked away further harmed in the MAC Gold race.
“Every point matters,” Marine City coach Chris Ming said. “You go out there and you play every game, and the cool thing about our league is, we get to play every team home and away. Despite the fact we had a loss on Monday (against Warren Mott), we get the chance to play them at our place. When we get to play them at our place, it’s a different story. We play better here, in front of our home crowd in our own little niche of the woods out here than we do on the road.”
Both teams are now 2-1-1 in the MAC Gold, good for seven points, one behind Clawson and Mott with a lot of time remaining in the season.
For the most part, Wednesday’s game was back and forth, as great build-up was met mostly with great defense.
The Saints were able to break through first, however, when Mackenzie Kent and Abbie Eitniear combined to set up Malone for the opening goal. The trio was able to spread out the Marine City defense, and when Malone received the ball inside the 18-yard box, the freshman didn’t waste any time firing a shot into the back of the net.
“When they play they can play,” St. Clair coach Rich Kern said. “We really like to pass the ball around when we put pressure on, get crosses and the three forwards are doing a nice job. Mackenzie does a nice job of checking, too, and we’ve got some talent with Taylor, the freshman.
“It was a fun game to watch, if you were in the stands one way or another.”
It was more fun for Marine City in the second half, especially the final 20 minutes, after Woodard scored her goal on a play set up by Olivia Viney and Tori Goulette. Woodard received the ball about 25 yards out, took a couple dribbles and unleashed a shot when she stepped into the 18. Marine City controlled much of the play after that, as well. Several factors led to that, including a new mindset for the Mariners, and some key injuries for the Saints to Marren Kruskie and Kelsey Kaczperski. Kruskie was able to come back into the game, while Kaczperski did not.
“They became convinced that they could do it at that point, and confidence is a funny thing,” Ming said of his team. “It’s one of those things that can make tired legs feel a lot better, and it was fun to see the effort they put forth at the end.”
St. Clair keeper Morgan Kronner was credited with two saves on the night, while Marine City keeper Ashley Beattie had four.
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.