By Dave Tomczak
But the Warriors kept battling and managed to extend their season by at least one more game.
WMC battled back from two deficits to defeat Ravenna, 4-3 in an overtime shootout in a Division 4 district semifinal game at North Muskegon High School.
The Warriors improved to 8-7-2 and will face host North Muskegon on Friday at 6 p.m. for the district title.
Ravenna finished the year at 13-8-1.
Tied 2-2 at the end of regulation, both teams scored in overtime to force a shootout, which involves shooters from each team going one-on-one with the opposing goalie from close range.
After both teams made two of six shots in the shootout, the Warriors’ Madisyn Pearce buried a shot in the top left corner.
Ravenna had one final tying attempt, but the shot rang off the crossbar and the game was over.
“We’ve not had a terrific season, wins and loss-wise,” said WMC coach David Hulings. “But the reason I coach, and this is my 27th season, is for moments like these right here. They fought back and always kept trying.”
Ravenna was missing one of its top players in Isabel Hammond, who was out with an injury.
The injury bug also extended to the Warriors, who lost forward Morgan Kinnucan to a season-ending injury in warm-ups, leaving a young team without one of its senior leaders.
“Morgan is our heart and soul, and when she went down and we had to play, our first half was just terrible,” Hulings said. “But give Ravenna all the credit, they were prepared and really ready to play.”
The Bulldogs struck first, taking a 1-0 lead when Pilar Ibanez headed in a corner-kick pass from Alexys Shimmel with seven minutes left in the first half.
With 1:26 left in the half, Emily Myers broke away down the middle of the field and scored for the Warriors to even the game at 1-1 heading to halftime.
WMC took a 2-1 lead just 38 seconds into the second half when Anna Sytsema headed a corner-kick in from Emily Rosema.
Ravenna pulled even at the 20:44 mark when Morgan Erffmeyer came up with a loose ball right in front of the net and banked it in off the post for a 2-2 tie.
Shimmel almost gave the Bulldogs the lead two different times near the end of regulation.
The junior fired a long bending shot that was heading for the upper right corner before being grabbed by WMC goalie Libby Mast with 9:25 left.
Seven minutes later, Shimmel fired from the same spot, this time hitting the inside of the far post, and the ball rolled along the goal line before being cleared.
In overtime, the teams went back-and-forth until Ibanez lofted a long shot over Mast for a 3-2 Ravenna lead midway through the extra period.
With 5:06 remaining, Sytsema sent a crossing pass to Carli Batten, who tapped it in to tie the game at 3-3.
Sytsema and Rosema scored for the Warriors in the shootout, while Amelia Mundinger put Ravenna on the board.
Down to its final shooter, and needing a goal to tie, Ravenna sent Ibanez out, who promptly buried a shot in the left side.
But Pearce ended their season with a goal moments later.
“It’s tough to lose in a shootout,” said Ravenna coach Sam Smith. “But the girls played their hearts out, played hard all season, and we couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Western Michigan Christian finished with a 17-12 shot advantage and Mast had nine saves.
The Bulldogs’ Bailey Walker finished with 12 saves in goal.