A late-season, non-league showdown on the pitch between the visiting Chargers of Dearborn Heights Crestwood and the host Pioneers of Riverview Gabriel Richard proved to be a good measuring stick for both clubs, with state playoffs a little more than a week away.
One goal was enough to decide a winner, and it was Sylvia Rios with a score late in the first half that held up, giving the Chargers a 1-0 victory on Friday.
From the opening kick, Crestwood appeared to control possession of the ball for the majority of the contest, limiting the scoring chances for Richard. The Chargers goal by Rios came with a little more than eight minutes to go in the contest. A pass through the middle of the field reached a leading Rios down the left side, who eventually flipped it past Pioneers keeper Lauren Williams.
The Chargers continued to own time of possession the latter 40 minutes and had more chances to add some insurance, but could not cash in. Crestwood goalie Hailey Spurgis was rarely contested by the Pioneers, who were able to apply some pressure in pockets throughout the game. However, an equalizer was not in the cards for Richard Friday night.
Crestwood coach Mike Haidar had a lot of positive things to say about his team’s performance and effort level after their shutout win.
“I thought our composure was outstanding today,” Haidar said. “We didn’t get overly frustrated when we didn’t finish plays, but I liked that we controlled the ball for much of the game. Going back a couple weeks now, we’ve been able to build some momentum, and these girls are starting to believe more.”
Haidar is particularly pleased with his junior class, which Crestwood’s goal scorer from Friday Rios is a part of. And having been critical of his team’s effort level in previous games, Haidar thought his team’s effort on Friday was great to say the least.
“I think we only conceited two real shots on goal,” Haidar said. “One came on a big mistake from a defender. But it happens, things like that will happen in games. Losing to Belleville and Dearborn was something that hit them emotionally, they needed this turnaround.”
Haidar added that his team is starting to “find their hunger” and that the Chargers can really make some noise come playoffs. As for Richard, head coach Pedro Hernandez was “quite impressed” with how Crestwood performed and neutralized his team.
“We’re not really use to playing against wingers that play as wide as (Crestwood),” Hernandez said. “The way they isolated match-ups out there, it left a lot of favorable situations for them. They crossed the ball very well too, I was actually quite impressed.”
Hernandez added that this game will be of use to them as they prepare for districts. “We were not use to a team playing in this kind of shape and tactic, that’s something we had to learn. We have a lot of time to practice and improve, though.”
Crestwood will play next on Monday, May 22 at Garden City. Richard will also travel for their next tilt, on May 23 against Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard.