MUSKEGON – Muskegon Catholic Central has been a thorn in the side of the Western Michigan Christian boys soccer team.The Crusaders knocked WMC out of districts in 2012 and 2013, before the Warriors broke through last year on their way to the state semifinals.
The two schools met again for the Division 4 district championship Friday on WMC’s home field. The Crusaders would have loved to make it three out of four against their hosts, but the Warriors weren’t having it.
They plowed their way to a decisive 5-0 victory and a berth in next week’s regionals.
That’s a big accomplishment for a team that started the season slowly, losing its opener in August 6-0 to Mona Shores.
“We’ve come a long way, baby,” said WMC Coach David Hulings. “The boys have really worked hard, they’ve worked hard. This is what we do, we work right now, we keep working, we don’t stop working and I think that’s what happened tonight, we just worked.
“We had a lot of goals from different people. I think everyone keys on Dylan (Mines), he gets his goal when he wants it, but the rest of the guys are there all the time because they’re working hard.”
The Warriors got on the board 10 minutes into the match when Evan Fles centered a pass from deep on the left wing to Owen Alfree, who chipped it in to make the score 1-0.
Just two minutes later, Mines lobbed the ball from way out on the left wing to Tyler VanBeek, who chipped it in from close range to extend the lead to 2-0.
“The first two or three goals that they got came off of simple miscues by our defense,” said MCC Bill Moulatsiotis. “That changed the momentum of the game. I thought we were playing really well, we played with a lot of heart. We just weren’t getting enough attacking in the final third (of the field).
“That’s not a good combination when you play WMC at WMC in the district final.”
Less than five minutes into the second half, Alfree was given a yellow card for delay of game on a corner kick.
Senior Cal Robrahn stepped in and delivered a perfect corner kick to Mines, who headed the ball past MCC goalkeeper Connor O’Neill to put the Warriors up 3-0.
Six minutes later, Mines dribbled down the right wing sideline before centering to Fles, who got deep in the box and blasted a shot past O’Neill, giving WMC a 4-0 lead.
WMC’s final goal came from Hayden Hubers with 18:55 to play, again off a corner kick.
“This is the first time we’ve gone on a four year break without being at the (state) finals.” Hulings said. “I have nobody on my team that’s been to a final. I really want it for our seniors so they don’t leave this program without being there.
“We try to train as champions, they work as champions and every once in awhile, you get a championship.”