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PREP DISTRICT SOCCER: Mt. Pleasant advances via win over Bay City John Glenn

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The Mt. Pleasant High School boys soccer team was victorious, 2-0, over Bay City John Glenn High School in a first-round district contest Tuesday at home.

With the win the Oilers advance to take on district host Bay City Western on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

“I was pleasantly surprised at how well we executed our game plan,” commented Oiler head coach John Bunting. “We talked about being a smarter team, a more physical team, and being a complete team for at least 60 minutes and I think we did all those things today.”

Mt. Pleasant certainly picked a good time to play its most complete game of the season as it came into the match knowing it had to accomplish two main goals in order to survive and advance.

One, was to shut down Connor Windiate who scored a whopping 50 goals during the regular season.

Mt. Pleasant did more than just shut Windiate down as he was barely a factor for much of the match. When asked about how his team was able to freeze out such a deadly striker coach Bunting explained, “We put Noah Hutchinson as a man mark on him and we kept Mitch Ridley on the front side of him. If they went over the top to him we had Noah covering him and if they went short to him we had Mitch to pressure him. On his first three touches he didn’t have a chance to breathe or turn. It frustrated him and he stopped running. After the first five or 10 minutes he didn’t even touch the ball.”

The other thing Mt. Pleasant knew it needed to do was to score some goals, which has been a struggle for the Oilers for much of the year. Aided by the home-field advantage and having the wind at their back in the first half, the Oilers did that as well, scoring their first goal just over 10 minutes into the game off a deflected shot from sophomore midfielder Kyle Montgomery.

With a 1-0 lead in hand the Oilers looked full of confidence as they pressed hard and passed well as they looked for an insurance goal. Mt. Pleasant did not have to wait long, when only five minutes later a short corner was played to Montgomery who found sophomore midfielder Connor Fiolek at the top of the 18.

Fiolek wound up and blasted a shot into the upper left corner putting the Oilers in full control of the match, up 2-0.

“We are usually going down early and having to come back so it’s good to have those goals right away,” said Montgomery. “In the first 20 minutes we came out pretty strong and even though they had the momentum sometimes we could focus on shutting down Windiate and not worry about making a comeback.”

Being up 2-0 was crucial for Mt. Pleasant as it came out in the second half with a much more defensive mind set. The Oilers were content to maintain possession and play at a much slower pace and their midfielders were able to put a lot more pressure defensively on John Glenn’s playmakers.

“We saw that their two central midfielders were going to be their pivot players. They were going to go from the back line to them and it was up to them to find Connor up top. So we said as much as we need to keep an eye on Connor we need to make sure we close out on them early as well because if they get the ball with space they’re going to toss it up to him. He’s a big kid and he’s always capable of winning the ball and putting it away,” remarked coach Bunting after the game. “I thought we did a great job at not allowing them space to operate.”

With the victory, Mt. Pleasant now has the opportunity to avenge its 1-0 conference loss to Bay City Western High School, and the team is itching to set the record straight.

“They beat us last game with physicality and mind games,” said Bunting, “They are always kind of a cocky team and always very physical and those two things took us out of the game. We gave up a stupid little goal to give them the 1-0 and we just got so wrapped up trying to match their physicality that we couldn’t play our own game. I think tonight we proved that we can be more physical and we can be a little cockier ourselves and I think that will show against Western. Things are clicking right now and our confidence is getting to the level where we need it to be.”

Mt. Pleasant will take on Bay City Western, who beat Saginaw Arthur Hill 7-0 in the first round, away on Thursday afternoon for a place in the district title game. Mt. Pleasant has been no stranger to the district championship over the last decade, having last won in 2011.

Last Updated: 10/15/2013 10:05:34 PM EST