MONTAGUE — After a scoreless first half Monday against Hart, Montague took charge in the second half, getting three goals from Brenden Mahoney en route to a 4-2 West Michigan Conference win over the Pirates.
Mahoney fired a shot in the 44th minute that deflected off the hands of Hart’s keeper, Kyan Clark, and put the Wildcats up 1-0. Although Hart responded with a goal just over a minute later, Montague dominated in scoring chances from there, finally cashing in with three goals in the final 10 minutes of play.
Coach Brandon Mahoney said his team did a much better job maintaining possession in the second half, leading to the offensive success.
“I think we finally realized that it wasn’t all about trying to dump it and chase,” Mahoney said. “I think we realized it was more about, we’ve got to get possession...The confidence finally started to build a little bit, like, we can pass between them. We should’ve been doing that in the first half.”
The Wildcats earned several chances throughout the second half, but the game was tied for nearly 26 minutes before Brenden Mahoney lined up for a corner kick, which he angled perfectly. The kick deflected off the hands of Gabe Farias, who’d entered the game for Hart at keeper, and went in to give the Wildcats the lead.
Matt Lohman added a goal a few minutes later, yet another one to deflect off the keeper’s hands. The fact that each of the first three Montague goals deflected off the keeper wasn’t lost on the coach.
“You just have to put some hard shots on, and they’re going to fall,” Mahoney said. “You just have to put them on net. It’s a coaching-style thing. I want possession, but when you spend too much time on the 18(-yard line) possessing it instead of firing shots, you don’t get the shots.
“It was a good match. I was happy to see them take care of business in the second half.”
The slow start also might have, in part, been due to the Wildcats coming off their tournament victory in Kent City just two days prior. However, the team was able to get itself ready to roll for the second-half kickoff.
“Emotionally, we were just really high, and then come Monday, we’re like, ‘Man, I’ve got to play soccer again,’” Mahoney said. “It’s a recovery phase. You could just tell, even when we were warming up, that we weren’t gameday ready. We talked at halftime, and the kids were the ones firing (each other) up, not me.”
Brenden Mahoney, the coach’s son, provided the final flourish with just under two minutes to play, making a great move to shake a pair of Hart defenders and finishing with the right foot. Brenden is a natural lefty, coach Mahoney said, so his being able to finish with the right was a nice sight.
“We’ve been harping on him about taking more shots,” coach Mahoney said. “He’s a lefty, but his right is just as strong. It’s nice seeing him come back with that right and put a couple in for us.”
The coach said Brenden has been developed well by his White Lake Breakers coaches, especially in the area of leadership. Having been on the varsity since he was a freshman, Brenden has developed confidence and, as a captain, now knows he’s expected to play a big role.
“(They) have helped develop him and make him understand that he’s got to be a leader now,” coach Mahoney said. “You’re a junior now, you have to be a leader. Sometimes it’s on your shoulders being a captain, and you’ve got to fire those in. I was glad he did it.”
Hart scored a goal late for the final tally, but Montague had the win and was ready for a big matchup with Oakridge just a couple of days later.
“There’s always stuff to work on,” Mahoney said. “The boys know that. We videoed the match and we’ll see what we did good and what we did bad.”
RP vs. Union
Oakridge too much for ‘Cats
MONTAGUE — Montague lost Wednesday’s West Michigan Conference game to Oakridge, 2-0.
The Wildcats allowed one goal in each half, and fell to 5-4 (1-3 WMC) on the season.
Montague wins Kent City tourney
KENT CITY — Montague came out on top last Saturday at the Kent City tournament, winning tight games over Reed City and Kent City to claim the title.
The championship game against Kent City was the big one of the day, as the Wildcats trailed 4-1 at halftime before improbably scoring four straight second-half goals to win the game 5-4. The Wildcats put in the winning goal with 59 seconds to go.
Matt Lohman led Montague in the title game with two goals. Brenden Mahoney, Nik Lipka and Blake Hutson each scored a goal.
Earlier in the day, Montague edged Reed City 3-2 after the score was tied 1-1 at halftime. Lohman scored all three Montague goals in the victory.
Spring Lake blanks Rockets
SPRING LAKE — Reeths-Puffer lost a non-conference game to Spring Lake last Saturday by a 2-0 score.
Sheldon Bunnell scored both goals for the Lakers in the game, the Rockets’ second straight loss after a three-game winning streak.