The Western Michigan Christian boys soccer team’s season came to a heartbreaking end on Tuesday with a 2-1 loss to Leland in an overtime shootout in a Division 4 regional semifinal game in Mount Pleasant.
The game was tied 1-1 after two 10-minute overtime periods, leading to the dramatic penalty kick shootout, with five players from each team going one-on-one with the opposing goalkeeper.
The Warriors trailed 1-0 after one round of the shootout, but eventually tied it up 3-3 after four rounds, thanks to goals from Ethan Hill, Ashton Leffring and Brandon Eenigenburg.
But WMC’s fifth and final shot went off the crossbar of the goal and was no good. Leland then netted its fifth penalty kick, sealing the victory and ending the Warriors’ season.
The Warriors, who were trying to defend their 2019 Division 4 state championship, finished with an 11-6-1 record.
“Someone has to lose,” said WMC Coach Ben Buursma. “Once it gets to penalty kicks, it’s a bit of luck and magic I think. It’s a really tough way to go out, especially for the seniors.”
“They did a great job of leadership all year long. Some of the juniors and sophomores coming up next year will be well prepared to carry on their legacy.”
Joey Eastway scored with 24 minutes left in the first half, giving the Warriors a 1-0 lead.
Leland’s Wyatt Sirrine netted a penalty kick less than a minute later to make the score 1-1.
Neither team was able to find the net in the remainder of the first half, the entire second half or either overtime period, which led to the dramatic shootout.
“These guys really came together,” Buursma said about his team’s season. “We improved so much, and it was really great to see Leland in this matchup. We were able to gauge how far we had come since we played them last month.”