CCA soccer cruises past Pine River

Crossroads rolls to a 5-0 win in boys soccer action against Pine River

BIG RAPIDS — Crossroads Charter Academy senior Andy Duddles was all over the pitch for the Cougars’ soccer team on Tuesday night, with a hand in all five goals CCA scored in a 5-0 win over Pine River.

KEEP AWAY: Crossroads Charter Academy’s Luke Zandstra (right) kicks the ball away from Pine River’s Zachaurrie Wagner (left) on Tuesday. The Cougars picked up a 5-0 win against the Bucks. (Pioneer photo/Daine Pavloski)

KEEP AWAY: Crossroads Charter Academy’s Luke Zandstra (right) kicks the ball away from Pine River’s Zachaurrie Wagner (left) on Tuesday. The Cougars picked up a 5-0 win against the Bucks. (Pioneer photo/Daine Pavloski)

The Bucks, still looking for their first win this season, started out with a threat from Colten Rawson, but CCA goalie Joe Balanda came out to make the stop early in the contest.

Duddles made his presence felt for the first time with 30:47 left in the first half as he sent a rocket from the right side past Lucas Harris in goal on an assist by David Larson, giving the Cougars a 1-0 advantage.

The Cougars continued to get opportunities on the offensive side, outshooting the Bucks 15-2 in the first half, but Crossroads couldn’t finish on a pile of attempts inside the box.

“We had our opportunities and we had our chances,” CCA coach Josh Yurick said. “When we force the center it’s like hitting our heads against a brick wall. You saw it time and time again, four or five shots in the box but they don’t go because that’s where everybody is.”

The Cougars spread the offense back out on the next attack with Duddles finding Javier Garcia for a 2-0 lead with 20:58 to play in the opening half and, less than 30 seconds later, Duddles sent a cross pass to Garcia who finished with a header to give CCA a 3-0 lead.

“(Duddles and Garcia) do work well together,” Yurick said. “Greatness comes from a team, not one person and I like the fact that they work together. It’s great when it comes out from a wide position into the center where they can do something with it.”

The Duddles-Garcia connection just missed a third goal with 9:15 left in the first half, but Harris stayed strong in goal to thwart the attempt. A few minutes later CCA’s Michael Thorne had another near-miss to keep the Cougar lead at three goals.

“They’re able to move the ball around and we couldn’t defend it,” Pine River coach Jenny Hoaglund said. “Until we figure out how to defend it’s going to be a struggle.”

With time ticking down in the half, Harris made a stop in goal for the Bucks and sprinted out dribbling the ball to try to inject some life into a Pine River squad that was mostly quiet throughout the half, but the Cougars stopped him at midfield to head into halftime.

Duddles continued to impress offensively in the second half, scoring unassisted with 24:39 left in the game to put the Cougars up, 4-0.

“I was trying to create some scoring opportunities all night for other people too,” Duddles said. “It was nice to score some goals and help raise our morale.”

The Cougars capped off the scoring with 13:37 to play in the contest as Luke Zandstra sent a cross to Duddles who finished with a header to seal the Cougars’ 5-0 victory and end his night with three goals and two assists.

“Something clicked (Tuesday) where we were just like ‘Oh, we need to play more as a team,’” Duddles said. “The passing game that we just haven’t had lately just clicked (Tuesday) and we started playing the way we should.”

Balanda made three saves for the Cougars on the night as the Bucks mustered just nine shots with looks by Rawson, Zachary Underhill and Anna Lindquist.

“The team is doing better things and we’re moving the ball around a little bit better,” Hoaglund said. “We just have to figure out how to work as a team.”

Both squads play again on Thursday with the Cougars (8-6) at Reed City while the Bucks (0-15) travel to Lakeview.

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