Local Sports Journal
The first half belonged to the Western Michigan Christian Warriors … the second half belonged to the Reeths-Puffer Rockets.
And after an 80-minute battle, the nonleague foes finished in a 2-2 tie in a game played at Warrior Field on Saturday.
In the opening half, the Warriors struck for two goals. Seniors Alex Rop and Chaise Schuiteman combined to give WMC a 1-0 lead less than 11 minutes into the game. Schuiteman sent a ball toward Rop, who settled the ball down and fired a shot past Rocket goalkeeper Troy Gilmore.
Eight minutes later, WMC struck again. This time a through ball from Rop found sophomore Ben Mast, who made several strong moves in close quarters, got loose and scored.
“I think we felt too good in the first half,” WMC coach David Hulings said. “I think we came out in the second half maybe too relaxed and it was my fault. I didn’t have them ready in the second half. We were enjoying ourselves too much.”
In the second half, the Rockets needed just 1:42 to get on the board. Senior Cody Loss launched a high shot that sailed over WMC goalkeeper Christian Rogers and into the net.
Eight minutes later, Tyler Brown took a pass from Loss on the left wing and fired a low shot just inside the far post and the game was tied.
Both teams had scoring chances in the latter stages of the game, the best being a rip by WMC’s Eli VanderVelde that rang off the crossbar with 4:45 remaining.
WMC had a 16-10 advantage in shots.
“Nonconference games we look to learn something, enjoy ourselves and get some guys in the game,” Hulings said. “They got a goal in the first two minutes and that really set the pace for the second half.”