Macomb TownshipMay 29, 2012
Cougars claim division title
By Jon Malavolti
C & G Sports Writer
MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Dakota girls soccer team decided that enough was enough and took out its frustrations by frustrating its opponents.
The Cougars allowed just one goal in 12 league games, keeping the opposition at bay while going on to win the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division title.
Coach Mark Ruth said it was the squad’s defense that was the catalyst behind the 9-0-3 first-place finish.
“Our defense really limited the quality shots this season,” he said. “They all work together very well. Our fifth and sixth defenders, when we put them in, they jump right in. We’re deep and very good defensively.”
For seven seasons, between 2005 and 2011, the Cougars finished in either third or fourth place of the MAC Blue. Before that, they struggled in the MAC White and MAC Red divisions.
“The talent level’s improved, and we have some of the most coachable, cooperative players we’ve had in years here,” Ruth said. “We were able to do some things tactically that we haven’t been able to do in the past.”
The coach added that he thought their opponents made the mistake of overlooking the Cougars, who simply went about their business of earning the respect of their foes.
“They come ready to play. We don’t have to do to much as far as motivation,” Ruth said.
The unity and chemistry of the squad were some other big factors in winning.
“We all worked together,” senior Kristina Sobel said.
Senior Krystin Neumayr said this was the best the team has played in her four years on the varsity squad.
“We’ve came close, but I think this year we really connected,” she said.
Senior Nina Aprahamian added that the squad has become more like a family that just a team.
“We’ve all really connected,” she said. “We all worked so hard together to get our championship.”
The Cougars were scheduled to host Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse in a district-opening playoff game after press time. Check out our website at www.candgnews.com for an update on the playoffs.
The winner of that game faces the winner of the Port Huron and Anchor Bay 7 p.m. May 31 district semifinal at Anchor Bay. The district final is set for 7 p.m. June 1 at Anchor Bay. Macomb L’Anse Creuse North, Chippewa Valley and Port Huron Northern are on the other side of the district bracket.