Traverse City West, Traverse City Central battle to second draw of season in 0-0 tie

May 2—TRAVERSE CITY — The first battle on the pitch between Traverse City West and Traverse City Central this season ended in a 1-1 stalemate. Thursday proved to be more of the same — with two fewer goals, however.

The Titans (6-2-4, 2-0-4 Big North) hosted the Trojans (5-4-4, 2-2-2 Big North) in the second draw between the crosstown rivals and Big North Conference foes, a 0-0 final that saw neither team get many legitimate scoring chances through 80 minutes of play.

"It's pretty frustrating because it's our crosstown rival and we want to win," West senior Beatrice Rooks said. "I think we could have played better. We did go out there and try our best, but there is always room for improvement."

"We know we could have won. That's what's frustrating," fellow Titan Mikayla Thompson added. "But we didn't lose, so I think that's a positive."

Although Central goalkeeper Amelia Jordan would have preferred a win, she saw that same silver lining in knowing the Trojans still picked up a point in the Big North Conference race.

"Everybody is going into these games wanting to win," Jordan said. "But from the first game a couple of weeks ago to today, I think this was a win for our team even though it wasn't a win by the score. A lot of us excelled, so this was a win for our team."

Central head coach Charley Needham left Thursday's scoreless tie feeling positive as well.

"We had really good energy. Everyone came ready to compete, today, and they were in a good headspace," Needham said. "Usually the trend is that first Central-West game has a lot of nerves and you don't know what to expect, but we were more prepared for the second game."

"We couldn't finish any chances, but it felt good," he continued. "The girls had fun. They were enjoying playing the game. We played our game and played it well."

The final stretch of Thursday's action saw each side get a few opportunities to put pressure on their opponent, and Jordan said she felt confident her fellow Trojans would hold steady.

"It was definitely nerve-racking, but our team pushes harder in those last five to seven minutes," Jordan said. "I know that mistakes won't happen during that time; and if they do, my teammates will recover. Our team is much more about learning from our mistakes than freaking out about them."

Although it was another tie against their rival, senior Titan Lily Smith believes the best is still to come for West.

"We're only going to go up from here," Smith said. "We learned a lot of things on the field, today, and it's only going to push us harder to get better."

Central and West both get back to action Saturday when they play two Division 1 top-10 teams — No. 6 Troy Athens and No. 7 Rochester — in the N/S Friendlies Showcase at West Senior High.

"I'm hoping to show how much we've gotten better since the beginning of the season," Smith said. "We've played a few hard teams, and I think (Saturday) is going to show how much we've improved, how our goalies have improved, even how our connections and the way we pass has improved."

Rooks said Saturday will offer the chance to show how talented West is.

"Ever since we've been playing these harder teams from downstate, it's just been showing how good of a team we are and how well we can work together when we're playing teams that are on a higher level," Rooks said.

Needham said Saturday will be an opportunity to see what the postseason could look like if the Trojans advance out of districts.

"That's the level of competition we're going to see if we make a deep playoff run," he said of Troy Athens and Rochester, "so it will be a good test for us to see how we stack up."

There is a good chance the Titans and Trojans could meet for a third time — this time without the possibility of a tie — in districts.

When asked if they wanted to see Central in the district tournament, Thompson, Smith and Rooks all immediately answered yes.

"One thousand percent," Smith said. "We know we can win. It's our game. At the end of the day, it's our game."

"We need to beat them," Rooks added.