MAYFIELD – When the Mayfield and Northville boys soccer teams get together, the result is usually a tough, hard-fought battle that comes down to the wire.
The latest meeting was just that as the Falcons posted a 2-0 win over the Panthers in a Western Athletic Conference clash at Ernie R. Clapper Field on Thursday night.
“It’s always an intense game with Northville,” Mayfield coach Jon Caraco said. “Every game with them seems to hinge on one or two plays. We certainly had some plays that if they had gone just a little differently might have changed the result.”
David Onzo scored both goals for Northville, getting assists from Kalob Russell and Dan Reidell.
“We had some good leadership from our seniors tonight,” Northville coach Steve Clapper said. “Nick Jonas, Tim Monette and David Onzo all showed leadership through their play.”
After a scoreless, back-and-forth first half, the Falcons needed just 54 seconds to get on the board in the second half.
Onzo found the back of the net on an assist from Reidell on the first shot of the second half, giving Northville a 1-0 advantage.
“We knew this game was going to hinge on the first goal,” Clapper said. “Both teams are quality teams. Once we broke through, we picked up our intensity the rest of the way.”
Northville finished the second half with a 7-3 edge in shots.
“That goal at the start of the second half took the wind out of our sails a little bit. That wasn’t how we wanted the start of the second half to go,” Caraco said. “We still did a lot of things right even when they scored the goal. We just caught an unlucky break.”
Mayfield nearly answered with 25:10 to play when Todd Briggs fired a shot that was stopped by a diving Monette to keep the Falcons in front. Jordan VanNostrand sent a shot on a breakaway for the Panthers just over the crossbar with 7:54 to play.
Onzo added an insurance goal for Northville with 6:18 to play when he scored on an assist from Russell to make the final score 2-0.
The win was the second in as many days for Northville, which eked out a 1-0 win over Mekeel Christian Academy on Wednesday.
“Playing on back-to-back days is never easy,” Clapper said. “It was something we had to keep in mind, but those are the things you have to do sometimes. We went out and did what we had do to tonight. I thought we played well tonight.”
In the first half, both teams had several scoring chances as Northville outshot Mayfield 8-6 in the first 40 minutes of play.
“I was very happy with the first-half effort,” Caraco said. “We did a lot of things well under some tough circumstances.”
Russell, Onzo, Reidell and Tyler Henderson all had shots stopped by Mayfield keeper Lucas VanNostrand in the opening half.
Briggs and Matthew Telfer were denied by Monette in the first half.
Telfer nearly had the game’s first goal with 1:46 left in the opening half, but Monette managed to tip the shot over the crossbar, preserving the scoreless tie into the break.
Also in the first half, Mayfield’s Matthew Messina and Northville’s Brian Ginter were both given red cards for fighting after getting tangled up at midfield with 31:22 left in the first half. As a result, both teams played with 10 players for the majority of the game.
Monette finished with seven saves to post the shutout win for Northville. It was the sixth shutout in 10 games this season for the Falcons.
VanNostrand made six saves for Mayfield, which was outshot 15-9 for the game.
“It was an exciting game and both teams played well,” Caraco said.
Mayfield (5-2-1 overall, 5-2-1 WAC) will host Middleburgh today at 7 p.m., while Northville (8-0-2 overall, 8-0-2 WAC) will host Canajoharie on Wednesday at 4:15 p.m.