The Dexter varsity soccer team successfully defended its title on Saturday at the Viking Invitational in Jackson.
Dexter opened up the tournament with a solid 4-1 win over Howell. Caden Doll struck first when he headed in an Austin Graham cross into the goal, just 1:30 into the game.
Daniel Higgins followed with a goal when he connected with a long through ball from Austin Graham 10 minutes later. With 12:39 left in the half, Dominic Burmeister deflected a ball played in by Jayden Bonilla for the 3-0 lead that the Dreads took into the halftime break.
Six and a half minutes into the second half, Anton Hein combined with Ryan Sanders to fire a near post shot past the keeper. With under 2 minutes left in the game, Dexter’s clean slight was spoiled when a “consolation” penalty kick was awarded, resulting in the goal given.
“It was a great first game start for us,” said Dexter Coach Scott Forrester. “Doll’s goal set the tone for the game and was the result of quality service from Austin. We had four different avenues for scoring in this game. We strive for this as it makes us harder to defend.”
The Dreads then faced Ortonville-Brandon in the second match and were scored on first. With 10:23 left in the half the Dreads backs were caught flat as a long ball was played beyond them, finding a Blackhawks player and the resulting goal.
“Yes, our two backs didn’t read the lack of pressure on the ball and were caught flat,” said Forrester. “It was a nice play by them that we will defend better in the future.”
The Blackhawks carried the 1-0 lead into the half time break, but there was an eerie feeling of what was to come. Sure enough just over 7 minutes into the second half, Jayden Bonilla took an Anton Hein pass and finished it for a 1-1 tie.
Finally, on another Hien feed, Daniel Higgins scored what would be the game winner that was followed 5 minutes later with a Ryan Sanders interception of a pass and a fine finish by him to make the Blackhawks pay.
Dexter’s 3-1 win put them in the finals against the Haslet Vikings in the Jackson Vikings tournament.
With the wet raining conditions and soft ground, both teams played good soccer, with good possession and chances. Despite the quality of play, it was scoreless at halftime.
Then the Burmeister show began. Just over 4 minutes in, Austin Graham fired a shot off the post that Dominic Burmeister followed up for the easy pass into the net. Another 4 minutes later, Burmeister connected with a Sanders corner-kick, heading it past the keeper.
With 6:10 left in the game, Austin Graham scored an unassisted goal for the 3-0 championship win. Andy Dolan and Daniel Higgins were the two allotments to the All-Tournament Team and the tournament trophy was accepted by captains Austin Graham and Andy Dolan.
“In the three games there were different players who stepped up,” Forrester said. “There are going to be times where a few players do the ‘grunt work,’ and don’t get the recognition, and then the next game it changes.
“That’s part of what makes this team special. They know that it’s all about team. That it is what is needed to accomplish our team goals.”
Dexter is now 9-2-1 and play at Ann Arbor Pioneer on Tuesday and a home match on Thursday against the Maples of Adrian.