MICHIGAN CITY — In the eighth minute of what was already looking like a game that was going to sway in Lake Central’s favor, Michigan City had an opportunity at a counter attack.
Senior midfielder Blake Waltz took control of the ball just past midfield, and with a couple streaking defenders to the side of him, had a chance to give his team the early lead. A mis-hit ball directly toward an Indian defender and a 40-yard through ball followed, and all of a sudden, Lake Central was on a counterof its own.
An Indians forward controlled the ball, just one man to beat. He brought it forward and pulled it right back, fooling the Wolves’ defense, allowing for a clear shot at net.
Even though the game was only eight minutes underway, it was a matter of when, not if, Lake Central was going to get on the scoreboard.
Just before the first goal of a 7-0 Indians victory, a Michigan City fan barked, “Press! Press!” at the Wolves’ back line, and for good reason. Lake Central was dominating in possession from the opening kick, due in large part to a sagging Michigan City defense.
This style of play positioned the Wolves' defenders deep into their own territory, allowing the Indians easy access into their opponents’ side of the field. A plethora of scoring opportunities followed for Lake Central, with most of them coming with easy entries into the 18-yard box.
Michigan City’s defense was stout as soon as the Indians gained entry, limiting the amount of quality chances and shots on goal for the opposition.
But the Wolves’ sloppy, timid passing from the midfield-on ended offensive possessions quickly, giving Lake Central more opportunities down the field.
“Tonight we had guys kind of out of position,” said Michigan City head coach David Harris. “Some balls we wanted to get played deep got played short. We put ourselves on the counter a lot, so we’re kind of asking for it at times.”
Although Michigan City spent the majority of the contest backed up in its own end, the goal margin could have been far wider if not for some swarming defense in tight.
The Wolves’ back line got pressured all night long, but that didn’t stop senior Nathan Stevenson and his defense from doing as much as they could.
From diving in front of a shot and absorbing the ball with the torso, to temporarily standing in net to stop balls the goalie was not in position to save, City’s defense was doing everything in its power to keep the Wolves in the game, but to no avail.
“(Our defense is) aggressive in the box,” Harris said. “They want to get to the ball. Sometimes that makes them scramble, but (I thought the effort was good).”
With aggressive, attacking defense comes fouls, sometimes; and Michigan City committed three of them inside its own 18 in the second half, giving Lake Central three penalty kick opportunities. The Indians converted on all three to blow the match wide open, trouncing any hope the Wolves may have had.
Michigan City will try to right the ship Saturday, as it travels to Monroe to face John Glenn.