Mona Shores soccer team bounces back from ugly loss, beats West Ottawa 5-2 in D1 district opener

By Aaron Poling
LocalSportsJournal.com

NORTON SHORES – Good teams bounce back fast after ugly losses.

The Mona Shores soccer team clearly belongs in the “good team” category.

On Monday the Sailors were beaten 6-0 by powerful Holland in the O-K Green conference tournament championship game.

Abram Freye drills the shot for the Sailors’ third goal of the first half. Photo/Eric Sturr

On Wednesday they had to dust themselves off from that tough defeat and open the Division 1 district tournament at home against Holland West Ottawa, in a win-or-call-it-a-season format.

The Sailors responded well, posting a 5-2 victory and advancing to the district semifinal round. They will play Grand Rapids Union on Monday at Hudsonville High School.

Mona Shores is now 11-3-1 on the season.

“We had to get back to basics, get back to the simple things that we do really well,” said Mona Shores coach Mike Apostle about his team’s bounce-back performance. 

The victory was a very big deal to Mona Shores senior standout Hayden Yaros, a fourth-year varsity player who has watched his team struggle in districts for three straight seasons.

“We have lost in the first round of districts each year,” said Yaros, who scored twice on Monday. “Coming in, we knew that we had to make a mark this year.” 

Yaros put the Sailors on the scoreboard about 10 minutes into the first half, scoring on a beautiful through ball from David McNiff.

Jacob Gravlin beats the West Ottawa defender to ball. Photo/Eric Sturr

Alex Eckerman extended the lead to 2-0 with a goal about three minutes later, with an assist from Abe Freye.

Freye scored a goal of his own with 16:23 left in the half, and the Sailors led 3-0 at halftime.

Easton Lopez attacked with the ball down the right side of the field about five minutes into the second half, beat all defenders, and made a move around West Ottawa goalkeeper Dylan Solis.

Solis tripped Lopez in the box, and Yaros took the penalty shot. The goalkeeper guessed left, but Yaros sent the ball into the bottom right corner of the net, extending the Mona Shores lead to 4-0. 

Aiden Anderson finished off the scoring for the Sailors with about five minutes left in the game.

Angel Garcia scored two late goals for West Ottawa.

Keegan Dekuiper looks to outlet the ball after making the save. Photo/Eric Sturr

“We had to come out with a lot of intensity, and get the first couple goals,” said Freye, who had an assist to go with his goal.

“We need to keep trust in our team, and keep rolling with it,” Coach Apostle said after the game.

Each team had nine shots on goal, but West Ottawa collected four of its shots in the last three minutes of the game.

Mona Shores goalkeeper Keegan DeJKuiper made seven saves in the victory.

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