By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

Mona Shores’ speed and tenacity cramped the style of the Western Michigan Christian Warrior soccer team on Monday night.

The Sailors broke a 2-all halftime tie and defeated the visiting Warriors 4-2. Mona Shores is 2-0 and WMC is 0-1.

The Sailors received first-half goals from Christian Zurchauer and Jacob DeRemer and second-half goals from Ryan Susterich and Blake Yin, whose insurance goal came with 1:28 remaining. Sailors assists were credited to Nate Hoover with two, Grant Fortenbacher and Zurchauer.

WMC’s goals came in the first half on a diving header by sophomore Ben Mast and Max Purvis. The Warriors were slowed by an early injury to senior Chaise Schuiteman and several other key players, who suffered from leg cramps.

“If they would not have cramped, I have no idea what would have happened,” Mona Shores coach Jeremy Leffring said. “We wore them down a little bit. I think we’re pretty good conditioned and I think we had a little more attack on them, but you know what? It’s just every years … it’s a great battle and that’s why we love them on the schedule. It’s a great rivalry and it really could have gone either way, especially early.”

In the early minutes, Schuiteman got loose in the Sailor zone, but was taken down. He also was taken out due to a leg injury. The free kick resulted in a WMC corner kick and junior Matt VanderPloeg served the ball to the goal mouth, where Mast dove and headed the ball into the net. That goal came 4:02 into the game.

With 14:48 left, the Sailors evened the score on a through ball from Fortenbacher to Zurchauer.

DeRemer’s breakaway off a pass from Hoover with 8:53 remaining in the opening half gave the hosts a 2-1 lead.

However, just 3 minutes later, WMC scored on a free kick that sailed over the head of Sailor keeper Nathan Mars and was pushed into the net by Purvis. Mars was injured on the play and was replaced by Eli Bowers.

In the second half, several Warriors suffered from leg cramps and that forced WMC coach David Hulings to make some adjustments.

In the meantime, the Sailors kept pushing onward and that resulted in a pair of second-half goals. Susterich scored what proved to be the game-winning goal with 24:28 remaining. Zurchauer’s cross from the right side from Susterich at the far post for the tap-in goal.

A strong individual effort by Hoover effectively set up Yin for the final goal of the game.

Leffring credited his back four defenders – Destin Morley, Susterich, Jacob Rohlman and Alec Sturr – with turning in a solid performance and keeping the Warriors’ offense at bay.

“They are a really good team and they play fast,” Hulings said. “Their movement with the ball and off the ball is really fast and when you’re losing key players, it’s hard to stay with them.

“For the first game, it showed more things that we have to work on,” said Hulings, whose team hosts Orchard View on Wednesday night at Warrior Field. “There were things that I saw that were really good, too.”