North Muskegon girls’ soccer team remains unbeaten with a 7-0 win over Oakridge

By Dave Tomczak

NORTH MUSKEGON – Maybe the North Muskegon girls’ soccer team keeps winning just to calm down its coach.

Heading into Thursday night’s West Michigan Conference game again Oakridge, Coach Ryan Berends told his players that the Eagles made him nervous, and it was their job to address the problem.

“We knew coming in against Oakridge, that they were a good, quality team, very physical and fast,” Berends said. “I let the girls know before the game that my stomach was in knots, and that they had to do something to ease the pain early, and they responded.”

The Norse got the early part right, scoring just 1:03 in the game, and just 15 seconds into the second half, en route to an impressive 7-0 home victory over the Eagles.

Sophie Mueller led the way with a three-goal hat trick while Abby Grevel scored twice.

Sophie Mueller pushes the ball up the field against pressure from Oakridge’s No. 19 And Cartwright. Photo/Jason Goorman

North Muskegon is now a perfect 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the conference. Oakridge fell to 4-3-1 and 3-1.

Gwenna Pitts started the scoring for the Norse, taking a crossing pass from Hope Johnson and knocking the ball into the net just 1:03 into the game.

The Norse increased their lead to 2-0 when Mueller outraced the Oakridge defense, hauled in a Reyna Johnson pass and scored a breakaway goal 10 minutes later.

A little over 12 minutes later, Mueller and Reyna Johnson connected on almost the exact same play –  a long pass and breakaway goal – to give North Muskegon a 3-0 lead.

Grevel finished off the first half scoring, knocking in a centering pass from Hope Johnson, and the home team led 4-0 at halftime.

“We have a fast team, a very talented and good passing team,” Berends said. “The stuff we do daily in practice is showing up in the games, and you can’t ask for more than that.”

Any adjustments the Eagles made at halftime went right out the window when Mueller took the ball to start the second half, immediately split the defense and found the back of the net at the 15 second mark.

Grevel put North Muskegon up 6-0 at the 19:32 mark, once again knocking in a centering pass from Hope Johnson.

The Norse ended its offensive attack with 9:36 left in the game. Mueller saved the ball from going out deep in the Eagles’ end and fired it towards toward the net, where Grace Berends tipped it in for the seventh and final goal.

It was an impressive win for a young Norse team.

“We have three seniors, great leadership, but only three,” Berends added. “We have a pack of freshmen that you saw out there. They came in and brought a lot of speed and talent to our team.”

North Muskegon outshot the Eagles 15-4. Norse goalie Bodie Collins got the victory in net.

Brooke Ruel finished with eight saves for Oakridge.


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