Fenton — At the start of Linden’s varsity boys soccer season keeper Ian Downarowicz didn’t know what to expect out of his squad.
“No offense to anybody, everyone were great players but this team wasn’t as beefy as the lineup we had last year,” Downarowicz said.
Downarowicz’s opinion has changed. The Eagles defeated the Fenton Tigers for the second time this season, beating the Metro League’s defending champions 2-0 on Fenton’s own home turf Wednesday.
“We have improved a lot and I’m happy with it,” Downarowicz said. “It means a lot. I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve got a shutout with me in goal. Last year we had a pretty good game against them before the playoffs. This time we got them.”
“It’s awesome to come here and beat them,” Linden senior Ryan Gillespie said. “It’s always a tough match against them. They always come and fight. They always play hard. But we were able to come here and get the win.”
Downarowicz’s strong keeping (he made 14 saves) and two first-half goals
made sure the Eagles stayed within a loss away from first-place Goodrich in the loss column in the Metro race. Fenton also is a loss behind Goodrich, but still has a huge contest against the Martians at Goodrich on Wednesday.
The first of the two goals was one the English Premier League will have troubles duplicating. Gillespie sent a pass to Aiden Miller who took a shot from about 30 yards out off the volley for a goal just under Fenton’s crossbar. Linden led 1-0 with 30:13 left in the half.
With 11:51 left in the half, Gillespie assisted another goal This time it was a shot by Alex Smith from about 10 yards out. Fenton was enjoying a good chunk of the possession and led in shots, but now trailed 2-0.
“We weren’t really after it after those goals,” Fenton varsity boys soccer coach Matt Sullivan said. “I don’t know if they caught us by surprise or what, but we never got it going again until the end.”
Really, the Tigers had ample chances to break the shutout, but Downarowicz made sure it didn’t happen with his 14 saves.
“It’s hard (to play Fenton). You have to stand on your toes,” Downarowicz said. “I was a bit slow in the first half. I didn’t get to as much I should’ve but I picked it up.”
The Eagles are playing some strong soccer, earning their seventh victory in a row.
“We have been playing really strong lately and the confidence is really strong,” Gillespie said. “So for us to come here and have that confidence to be able to wion is a big part of it. And, obviously, our keeper is always a main part of it. And our defense that can allow zero goals a game. It’s all coming together for us.”
Linden hosts Clio Monday at approximately 6:15 p.m while the Tigers host Lake Fenton.