Utica overwhelms youthful Big Reds in second half

By: Thomas Franz | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published September 25, 2013

 Chippewa Valley’s Andy Ochs looks to pass the ball during the Big Reds’ contest against Utica on Sept. 16.

Chippewa Valley’s Andy Ochs looks to pass the ball during the Big Reds’ contest against Utica on Sept. 16.

Photo by Deb Jacques

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — With six sophomores on the varsity roster, Chippewa is experiencing a bit of a youth movement.

Big Reds coach Gerry Haggarty is hoping his young players gain experience quickly in order to stop what happened during a game against Utica High Sept. 16 from happening in the future.

Though a 3-2 loss is nothing to be embarrassed about, it was the way the game played out that has Haggarty a bit restless.

Chippewa Valley controlled the contest for the entire first half, but it had only one goal to show for its hard work.  After missing two opportunities to score earlier in the half, Chippewa finally got on the board by way of an Omar Yousif goal with just more than four minutes to go before halftime.

Following halftime, Utica took control of the action to tie the game at the 33-minute mark when senior forward Noah Brenizer scored on a penalty kick.   Ten minutes later, Utica would score twice more. Senior forward Austin Perry gave Utica the lead, and just more than a minute later, junior midfielder Matt Wilkie scored what would be the game-winner with a hard-hit shot in the top-right corner of the goal.

Chippewa’s Nick Giovannetti would bring the Big Reds to within one with six minutes to go, but they were not able to complete the comeback.

“We played a good first half, but we had opportunities to score more than one goal, and when you don’t take advantage of that opportunity, it comes back to haunt you,” Haggarty said. “I said at half, we had to keep the momentum, because I thought we had the momentum going into halftime, and I told them if we could just play the first 20 minutes and get a goal, we’d be all set. But we came out flat and paid the price.”

Utica coach Carl Territo explained that his side did not change anything to flip the contest around after halftime, but it was just a matter of taking care of possession and not making mistakes.

“We didn’t change anything. We just talked about the fact that we gave them the ball too many times in the first half. We just wanted to make sure we controlled the ball and held it,” Territo said.

Dane Haggarty and Yousif are both sophomores and starting forwards for the Big Reds, and coach Gerry Haggarty said that their experience of playing on the varsity last year as freshmen will pay off in the next two years.

“They both have varsity experience, so it’s not like they’re new to us … but when opportunity knocks, you have to answer the door. Including this year, they have three more years together, and I think it will pay dividends as they get older, bigger and faster. They’re basically kids. A year from now, they’ll finish all three of those chances that they had,” Haggarty said.

With such a youthful team, lapses like the one Chippewa experienced against Utica are inevitable, but Gerry Haggarty said he hopes his side will be able to limit the damage better during future breakdowns.

“Some kids are going to have lapses like that, so you just have to make sure the damage during those lapses isn’t as bad as this was when you give up three goals, but we’ll be all right. We played hard and came back and made a game of it, so that’s a positive,” the coach said.

Chippewa (4-2-2) is scheduled to host Anchor Bay on Sept. 25 while Utica (9-2-1) will travel to Sterling Heights Stevenson on the same day.