Western Michigan Christian slips past Muskegon Catholic in battle of River Valley rivals

Local Sports Journal

It was your typical boys soccer battle on Tuesday at Muskegon Catholic Central between two familiar foes.

The Western Michigan Christian Warriors and the host Crusaders locked up for another emotional, physical match.

Muskegon Catholic’s David Walker, left, clears the ball from the defensive zone despite the pressure from WMC’s Matt VanderPloeg. Photo by Ron Rop.

When the clock ran out, the Warriors had a 2-0 River Valley Conference victory.

“The emotions and intensity are very high for these games,” Crusader coach Billy Moulatsiotis said.

A pair of second-half goals by Josh Binnendyk and Chaise Schuiteman gave WMC (5-3-1) all the offense it would need to capture the victory.

Armed with a strong wind at their back in the opening half, the Crusaders put some heavy pressure on the WMC net. Adam Callow unleashed several hard shots that sailed just wide. Jeremy Joyce and Erik VanFossen also had some good scoring chances.

“We had opportunities,” Moulatsiotis said. “We just couldn’t finish. We have a lot of work to do.”

Early in the second half, WMC got on the board on a corner kick that started with sophomore Matt VanderPloeg send the ball toward the front of the Crusader net. Alex Rop, stationed in the goal mouth, flicked the ball with his head to Binnendyk, who buried a shot in the net.

Midway through the half, Schuiteman was held en route to the net on a quality scoring chance and was awarded an penalty shot. That gave WMC an insurance goal.

“Always tough games,” said WMC coach David Hulings about MCC. “They get better each game they play and we will have to match that.”

MCC had a 10-6 edge in shots. Jacob Berens posted the shutout in net.

“We were trying to put a consistent game together and tonight was the night,” Hulings said. “I don’t think we would have won without 80 minutes of consistent work, quick play and playing with and for each other.”

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