By Andrew Johnson

FRUITPORT – The Fruitport soccer team was hopeful before the season that they’d get a challenge in non-conference play that would prepare them for the daunting OK-Black conference slate.

Fruitport’s Ryan Laus changes direction at midfield. Photo/Jason Goorman

On Friday night, they defeated Fremont 2-0 to improve to 3-0 in non-conference play with one more challenge ahead of them before conference play.

“It’s a good start,” said Trojan head coach Dan Hazekamp about his team improving to 3-0 in non-conference play in 2019 after going 8-8-4 and finishing third in conference play last season. “It’s good because the quality of teams we’ve played against including Fremont are good. They’ve pushed us. But we’re trying to use the non-conference to get ready for life in the OK-Black.”

For the longest time on Friday, it looked like the game was going to be a 0-0 tie until a Trojan defenseman broke the scoring seal.

With 21:01 left in the game, Trojan senior Zak Wessels took a corner kick and found a streaking senior defenseman Ethan Selle who headed the ball to the back of the net, giving Fruitport a 1-0 lead.

“It felt exciting,” said Selle about joining the offensive attack despite being a defenseman. “It (the goal) was kind of a game changer. For the longest time we seemed to be going back and forth but we were able to get that in and kept them out.”

The game remained 1-0 until senior Bryce Lanore rocketed a shot into the back of the net with 1:35 remaining in the game to ultimately make the final score 2-0.

Overall, Fruitport outshot Fremont 8-5 and had six corner kicks while Fremont only had one.

The non-conference matchup with Fremont was exactly the challenge the Trojans had expected.

“Credit to them,” said Lanore who will lead his team against Western Michigan Christian in a non-conference game on Monday before opening OK-Black conference play against Mona Shores at home on Wednesday. “Fremont gave us trouble in the back and I think they’re a pretty good team. They did a nice job.”

Fremont falls to 1-2 overall the season with the loss but head coach Steve Vissia believes his team will be better having faced a tough opponent in Fruitport.

“I’m pleased with the effort,” said Visser about his squad which went 10-6-1 last season and finished third in the CSAA gold division. “The guys are playing hard and I’m pleased with the effort. It’s not clean right now, but we’ll get there.”