By Ron Rop
The victory earns the Warriors a spot in the 6:45 p.m. Thursday night district title game against North Muskegon, which defeated Pentwater, 5-0, in the first semifinal game in Warrior Field.
On Tuesday, the Warriors had ample scoring opportunities in the opening half, but scored just once.
However, in the first 16 minutes of the second half, the Warriors popped in four goals and took firm control of the game.
“It was 1-0, but we were getting lots of opportunities,” Warrior coach Ben Buursma said. “We had some frustration with offside a few times so we knew we were getting the opportunities, we just needed to get in at the right time and finish them.”
The only “finish” in the opening half was a goal by junior Tekalegn Vlasma, whose goal came 13 minutes into the game.
Then came the scoring flurry, which began with a sharp-angle shot by Lucas Dick that found the back of the net.
“We like to score goals in bunches so we are very comfortable with that,” Buursma said. “The guys responded really well to being disappointed about only being up 1-0 at half. They came out and they really wanted to put some distance between us and Ravenna.”
That distance grew to 3-0 when Dick sent a through ball that Vlasma buried for his second goal of the game. That came at the 34:42 mark.
Seven minutes later, senior Ben Pollock scored from help from Charlie Buursma and four minutes after that, again with help from Buursma. That 16-minute spurt produced four goals and made things a lot more comfortable for the Warriors and their faithful followers.
Junior Ryan Riksen buried a penalty shot with 12;56 remaining to cap the evening’s scoring.
Despite allowing six goals, Ravenna goalkeeper Caden Marsman, a senior, turned in a solid performance with several quality saves in the Bulldog net.
Besides scoring six goals, the Warriors also received stellar performances from their line of defenders who kept things under control in the backend. That group includes Eli Malek, Ben Moorhead, Ben Visser and Matthew Bradford-Royle. Of that group, Visser is a junior and the others are seniors.
“They do a great job locking down teams,” said Buursma, who said his team has moved from No. 2 to No. 1 in the state rankings after previously undefeated Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett ended its regular season with an 0-1-1 record last week.