Crossroads soccer advances to district finals

CCA wins 2-1 shootout over Covenant Christian to move on to district final

BIG RAPIDS — With the high school girls soccer regular season done, every single game is win or go home for athletes around the state. Crossroads Charter Academy coach Ross Meads used that to pump his team up in a 2-1 shootout victory over Grand Rapids Covenant Christian in district semifinals on Friday by telling them just how big each game is in the postseason.

“You either win the state final or you lose your last game,” Meads said. “I told the girls that I didn’t want us to lose our last game on our home field and so far we haven’t.”

KICK IT: Crossroads’ Alyssa Larson (right) gets ready to kick the ball down the field as Grand Rapids Covenant Christian’s Anne Kuiper (10) tries to track her down during Division 4 district play on Friday. (Pioneer photo/Daine Pavloski)

KICK IT: Crossroads’ Alyssa Larson (right) gets ready to kick the ball down the field as Grand Rapids Covenant Christian’s Anne Kuiper (10) tries to track her down during Division 4 district play on Friday. (Pioneer photo/Daine Pavloski)

The Cougars (12-3-1) secured the victory after 100 minutes of play saw both sides knotted at one goal apiece, resulting in a best-of-five shootout between the teams. Alyssa Larson matched a Covenant make in CCA’s first shot before Kourtney McKinnon and Aubrielle Angell added two more shootout goals to give the Cougars the victory to move on to the district finals.

“We played for the league title and lost in a shootout recently,” Meads said. “I think it was on the girls minds a little bit, but they came out and put three out of four on the net.”

Before the shootout, the Cougars got their lone goal in regulation less than five minutes into the contest with Kayla Kuenzel coming through on a great set up from Larson with 36:17 on the clock.

“The early goal, a beautiful ball into the box from Alyssa and Kuenzel,” Meads said. “A beautiful trap, Kuenzel just touched it by, I mean, just a textbook goal.”

The Chargers of Covenant Christian picked up the offensive intensity after the CCA goal, keeping the ball on offense for most of the first half before Nicole Van Dyke was able to put one in off the outstretched hand of Miranda Carlson with 10:28 left in the opening stanza.

“You could’ve picked me up off the ground after their goal because Miranda doesn’t let that kind of ball in the net,” Meads said. “She’s sure-handed. She’s my basketball player for crying out loud. She doesn’t let those in.

“It was kind of a fluke and I was worried, because the girls could’ve gotten down,” he continued. “When you let in a soft goal it kind of takes the air out of the whole team. But, again, they came back and they played hard.”

Carlson recovered from the goal, making a pile of diving, athletic saves to keep the score knotted at 1-1 heading into halftime.

The Chargers continued to pepper Carlson with shots in the second half, but she stayed strong, piling up 27 saves on the night, including a few that really impressed her coach.

“Of (her saves), probably seven or eight were game-changing saves,” Meads said. “She had an amazing game for us (Friday).”

With less than 30 seconds left in the contest, with the score still tied at 1-1, the Cougars had two deep looks to Larson, but the Charger defense held strong, sending the game into overtime with a trip to the district finals on the line.

Both squads went scoreless in the first overtime session, with the Chargers getting a few good looks that the Cougars were able to stop. The Cougars picked up their intensity in the second overtime, but the Chargers were able to get another good look that went just high, harmlessly deflecting off the crossbar, sending the contest into a best-of-five shootout after 100 minutes of deadlocked competition, with the Cougars moving on to the district finals after netting three of their chances to the Chargers’ two.

“I’m thrilled. Especially for the seniors,” Meads said. “I couldn’t ask for any better effort than that. They all played hard.”

The Cougars will return to action to play at noon at home on Saturday against Wyoming Potter’s House Christian with a district championship up for grabs.

Leave a Reply