By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal
Coach David Hulings was pleased his Western Michigan Christian Warriors posted a 3-1 season-opening victory over Orchard View in boys soccer action on Tuesday.
But that was about the extent of Hulings’ approval of his team’s performance.“Well, sometimes you play well and win and sometimes you play poorly and win,” Hulings said. “Tonight either we played poorly and won or OV made us play poorly and we won. Either way they outplayed us in every area, but our goalkeeper and sweeper.”
WMC scored three first-half goals and prevailed against the Cardinals, who scored one goal in the second half and rang three other shots off the post.
“We controlled the game very well, especially in the second half,” OV coach Kyle Skodack said. “We brought the intensity up, but we couldn’t finish.”
The Warriors got on the board 16½ minutes into the first half when freshman Ben Mast lofted a centering pass to the front of the net, where junior Alex Rop knocked it in for a header goal.
A solid individual effort by junior Chaise Schuiteman gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead seven minutes later. Schuiteman left two OV defenders in his wake as he got free and fired a shot inside the far post.
Senior Noah Wildeman capped the WMC scoring with 7:13 left in the first half when his lofting shot from the right side sailed over the head of OV keeper Dylan Tyler and into the net.
The Cardinals (1-1) got on the board slightly past the midpoint of the second half when Brandon Rowell knocked in a shot from close range.
From there, OV continued to press the issue in the offensive end. John Leonard was robbed by WMC goalkeeper Jacob Berens less than two minutes after Rowell’s goal and with 5 minutes left, Cameron Stafford put a shot off the crossbar.
“If it were not for Jacob Berens and Josh Binnendyk we would have been crushed,” Hulings said. “OV played very well. I was impressed with their work ethic and determination.
“We have much work to go, but this was a start,” Hulings said. “A rough start, but a start.”