The Skyline Eagles (11-1-5) defeated the Huron River Rats, 4-0, in the opening round of the Division 1 Districts soccer tournament on Thursday. The Eagles led by one goal at halftime, before scoring three in the second half to pull away.
Tyler Warren had two goals in the victory. Skyline will advance to play Pioneer in the semifinals. The Pioneers defeated Ypsilanti 8-0 on Thursday night.
The Eagles began the match versus Huron with a corner less than 4 minutes in and they were the clear aggressor, earning a free kick just a couple of minutes later. Mario Sims took the free kick and it seemed on line, but the wall blocked it. The first time Huron possessed the ball on their half of the field was at the 34:01 mark.
Skyline continued to push the ball forward every chance they got but the scoring didn’t come until 15 minutes left in the first half when Warren knocked through a free kick from 25 yards out. Warren had another shot on goal less than 5 minutes later, but failed to score, and the Eagles took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
“I wanted more. I thought we lacked some passion in the beginning,” said Skyline head coach Chris Morgan. “The system they were running, they held at midfield and they played really compact. They played smart. We’ve got to do a better job of coming out hyped and being engaged in the match. I thought we could have done more. That was how I felt.”
At the start of the second half, it was clear that the Eagles were determined to put the game away as quickly as possible. Bryce Schaner scored the second goal of the match with 33:31 left on another free kick.
Warren knocked through his second goal of the day less than 6 minutes later and the 3-0 lead seemed insurmountable.
The fourth and final goal of the game was off a corner and Lucas Miller bumped the ball into the back of the net, putting the Eagles up 4-0.
Huron wasn’t able to get the ball in scoring position very often but Amara Bowman did have a shot on goal with 12:23 remaining. The River Rats would eventually score a goal but it was taken away due to an off-sides penalty.
Skyline had more corners (6-3) and shots on goal (11-5) in the 4-0 victory.
“We preached set pieces last year. Six out of our seven goals last year were set pieces in the postseason. I thought we could have scored more but I love it, that’s a plan kind of coming together,” said Morgan. “The back four on our defense are just a wall. They’re really good at communicating with each other and they’re all strong and smart players. It’s what we expect from them.”
Skyline will face Pioneer in the Districts semifinals on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at Dexter High School.