By Dave Tomczak

MUSKEGON – Playing its ninth game in a two-week span, North Muskegon’s boys soccer team got off to a slow start on Tuesday.

But once they got going, the Norse rolled to a convincing 5-0 non-conference win at Muskegon Catholic Central.

North Muskegon’s No. 14 Hudson Richards leads the ball through the Crusader defense. Photo/Michael Banka

The victory helped the Norse improve to 4-4-1 on the season, while the Crusaders fell to 1-3.

“We brought some younger guys up and tried to utilize the underclassmen in this game,” Norse coach Jeremy Tjapkes said. “What we really needed was some rest, so a lot of kids who weren’t getting playing time really stepped up and helped us out.”

North Muskegon generated some early scoring chances, but didn’t get on the board until the Crusaders knocked a loose ball into their own net 10:03 into the first half.

Ten minutes later Trevor Schultz gave the Norse a 2-0 lead with a goal off a centering pass from Juan Quintero.

With 15:31 left in the first half, North Muskegon’s Jack Injerd was hauled down in front of the Crusaders net. Devin Smith took the penalty kick for NM, but was stopped by MCC goalie Aiden Kalisz.

Unfortunately for Catholic, the ball bounced right to Quintero, who knocked in the rebound in for a 3-0 North Muskegon lead, which stood until halftime.

“We played a quality opponent and we did pretty well,” MCC coach Jacob Peterson said. “We are a very young team and we have some things to work on, but this was a good test for us.”

After outshooting MCC 9-4 in the first half, North Muskegon kept the pressure on in the second half and took a 4-0 lead on Schultz’s second goal at the 29:35 mark.

Injerd finished off the scoring 8:30 later, knocking in a pass from Kayleb Chase.

North Muskegon finished the game with a 16-5 shot advantage. Norse goalie Jake Hoffer finished with five saves.