BY ED WRIGHT
Aug. 25, 2010, 10:35 p.m.
The Walled Lake Northern soccer team's second trip this week to the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park wasn't nearly as satisfying as the first.
Plymouth defense made sure of it.
Five days after capturing the title in the Gary Balconi Invitational, the Knights had to settle for a 0-0 draw against the Wildcats, who nearly broke through on a few occasions in the first half while repelling a few late Northern scoring threats in the final two minutes.
The tie left Plymouth with a 2-1-1 record.
Northern is now 3-0-1.
"I was really happy with our possession and our ability to attack in the first half," said Plymouth coach Jeff Neschich. "It was just that final touch, or that final cross, or that final finish that we lacked tonight.
"Overall, I thought we played really well."
Neschich was especially pleased with the play of his back four -- Michael Ambrose, Zack D'Agostino, Brent Zuzo and Stephen Jahn -- in addition to goalie Kyle Brindza.
"Northern has a couple of really crafty forward with a lot of speed," Neschich said. "Our back four did a good job of controlling them, and Kyle came up big when he had to."
Nick Russ and Derek Austin sparked the Wildcats' offense, which created at least six solid chances that came up just short.
Three minutes into the second half, Russ sent a booming rope toward the net that sailed just wide of the left post.
Six minutes later, he did his best Colin Rolfe imitation, cutting and weaving through the Knights' defense before unleashing a strong left-footed shot that was gobbled up by the Knights' keeper.
Austin made a stellar run in between those two Russ threats, but he was stopped at the door-step.
Brindza came up big with 30 seconds left when a sizzling Northern free kick entered the box and ricocheted off several feet before the senior keeper secured the ball.
"I thought Joe Klonowski and Andrew Yoder really stood out in our center-mid," Neschich added. "Our two center backs -- Michael Ambrose and Stephen Jahn -- also played well."
Plymouth is idle until Monday when it takes on cross-campus rival Salem. The opening kick is set for 7 p.m.
Ed Wright can be reached at (734) 453-1980 or email@example.com.
Austin makes a move on a Northern defender. (Ed Wright photo)
Josh Prieb battles for the ball with a Northern defender. (Ed Wright
Plymouth's Dohyung Kim dribbles upfield. (Ed Wright photo)