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Manchester shuts out Huntington North

SOCCER: Manchester’s Kindra Stetzel makes a save of a shot from Huntington North during Thursday’s game against the Vikings.

BY Eric Andrews - eandrews@h-ponline.com

The Manchester girls soccer team continued their strong season on Thursday, defeating Huntington North 2–0.

The victory improved the Squires’ season record to 8–1, while the Vikings fell to 2–3–1 with the loss.

Manchester got the scoring started early in the contest when Emma Garriott set the table for Beletu Stout on a cross into the middle of the field. Stout made no mistake, putting the Squires up 1–0 in the fifth minute of play.

Huntington North answered with a trio of high-quality chances the rest of the half, the best coming from the foot of Addy Wiley with five minutes left in the frame on a two-on-one cross pass in front of the net, but Wiley could not get all of the shot, making the save for Kindra Stetzel easier. With Stetzel and the Squires successfully holding the Viking offense at bay, the game entered halftime with Manchester leading 1–0.

The second half largely became the Addy Wiley show, as the Huntington North sophomore generated six quality chances throughout the second half. However, Wiley could not find the back of the Manchester net on any of the chances.

The Squires, who were generally outplayed by Huntington North in the second half, managed to capitalize on one of their few chances in the period when Garriott buried a shot off a pass from Karen Jimenez Saucedo in the 65th minute to double the Manchester advantage to 2–0.

Though the Lady Vikes did their best to break through down the stretch, Stetzel and the Squire defense stood tall, shutting down Huntington North the rest of the way for a 2–0 victory.

“We’re creating chances in all of the games we’re playing in and we’re possessing for the most part,” Huntington North head coach Jeremy Steele said. “We could be sharper in several of those areas, but the part we’re really struggling (with) is just finishing goal scoring opportunities. If you look across the line for all of our games so far, we’ve outshot every single one of our opponents, and some of them by a significant margin, but we aren’t finishing and we don’t have anything to show for all of those shots.”

Though Steele was disappointed in his team’s lack of ability to put the ball in the net, their possession time lends itself to limiting chances for the opposition.

Steele was overall pleased with his team’s defensive play against the Squires, but noted how their rare mistakes proved costly in the game. “We struggled two different times,” Steele said. “(Manchester) took advantage of those opportunities when they presented themselves. We needed to do a better job of staying goalside between our man and the goal, and had we done that, we probably prevent both of those (goals). But, the opportunity presented itself and (Manchester) finished it.”

Steele added his team has been spending extensive time the last two weeks of practice focusing on finishing goal scoring chances and will continue to do so until the team can figure out a way to break their offensive slump.

The Vikings will return to the pitch on Tuesday for a Northeast 8 Conference match at Bellmont, while Manchester will return to action next Thursday for a road duel at Eastbrook.