Pinconning earns 1st victory
WHITTEMORE-PRESCOTT — Pinconning earned its first victory of the season Wednesday with a 3-1 win at Whittemore-Prescott, but the Cardinals gave the Spartans everything they wanted and more in the process.
"This will be a good morale-booster for us," said Pinny coach Stan Donajkowski. "We've got 11 new guys and it's a young bunch. I know they (W-P) has had it even harder than we have, so had to make sure the kids knew they would really be coming after us, and they did."
The Cardinals, also searching for their first win, controlled the action for most of the first half, though Pinny drew first blood on the first of two Buddy Grusnick goals. This one came after a W-P defensive error.
The Cards struck back in the 28th minute as David LaPoint scored off a feed from Jayme Humphrey, leaving the score at 1-1 at the half.
W-P was poised to take the lead early in the second half as LaPoint hammered a shot off the Pinny crossbar. That proved to be a problem for the Cards: the ball bounded 30 yards back onto the field directly to the Spartans' Dylan Marquiss, who led a breakaway that ended with Steve Nelson's go-ahead goal that deflected off a Cardinal defender.
"We just didn't have anyone in the right spot (for the rebound)," said W-P coach Ed Schulte. "That's one of the things where we haven't had a lot of scoring chances, so things that hopefully will become automatic, like crashing the goal after a shot, we still take some time to think about."
The Cards put 10 shots on goal, a season-high, forcing Pinny keeper Kyle Sanford to make nine saves.
W-P's Scott Garnett made 13 himself, but one he couldn't make was on a Grusnick breakaway about 10 minutes later, when he was forced to guess in a one-on-one situation which way the scoring attempt would go. Grusnick scored the insurance goal in the 13th minute to conclude the scoring, though the Cards had several more chances to score late.
The win improved the Spartans to 1-9 (1-4 NEMC).
"Scott's athletic, and he's done well in goal, especially when you consider it's his first year," Schulte said. "He'll make a few mistakes, which you expect, but the great thing is if it's someone else's mistake, he won't bark at them, or even say anything at all about it. He just goes back there and gets ready for more."
The Cardinals dropped to 0-8 (0-5 NEMC) but Schulte has taken heart in his team's dramatically improved play midway through the season.
"We've getting a lot more scoring chances," he said. "With that comes a little anxiousness, but as we start getting over that, we'll score more."
"For as much as they've been through, they always play hard, they play fast, and they play clean," Donajkowski said of W-P. "I have a lot of respect for that team."