By Noah Genson

FRUITPORT – The Mona Shores soccer team went to Fruitport on Thursday determined to get its first O-K Black Conference victory of the season.

But Connor Hines didn’t let that happen.

The Fruitport goalkeeper stopped eight Sailor shots, including 10 in the second half, to keep Mona Shores off the scoreboard.

But the Trojans also failed to score, and the game ended in a frustrating 0-0 tie for both teams.

“He’s the linchpin for us,” said Fruitport coach Dan Hazekamp about Hines’ importance to the team. “For a team that struggles a little bit offensively right now, he’s the heartbeat and gives our guys so much confidence. It’s great to have.”

Fruitport’s keeper, Connor Hines, sends the ball down field after making a save. Photo/Eric Sturr

Hines wasn’t the only goalie to shine on Thursday.

Mona Shores sophomore keeper Keegan DeKuiper had six saves, including back-to-back stops with 15 minutes left in regulation, to keep the game knotted up.

“Keegan started a majority of the season for us last year, but he was silent,” said Mona Shores Coach Mike Apostle about his young goalie’s growth. “But this year, he’s the voice of that defense, and that’s great to see from such a young player.”

As far as offense goes, there wasn’t much of it, but neither coach seemed too concerned.

“We lost 96 percent of our scoring from last year,” Hazekamp said. “It’s early on and we just have to find those scorers on our team, and sooner or later we’ll start getting the ball in the back of the net.”

Apostle applauded the Trojans’ defensive effort.

“They had a great game plan,” he said. “They gave us space to shoot and when George [Deveau] and Clark [Meston] touched the ball, they collapsed on them and forced them to make a quick decision or get rid of it.”

The Sailors outshot the Trojans 14-8.

Mona Shores moves to 1-2-2 on the season and 0-0-1 in conference play while Fruitport drops to 1-4-2 on the year and 1-0-1 in conference play.