Grant soccer cuts down Big Rapids 2-1 in overtime

SLIDE TACKLE: Big Rapids’ Mason Gifford (7) is slid into by a Grant defender on Monday during the Tigers’ 2-1 overtime win over the Cardinals at Big Rapids High School. (Pioneer photo/Richard Mead)

SLIDE TACKLE: Big Rapids’ Mason Gifford (7) is slid into by a Grant defender on Monday during the Tigers’ 2-1 overtime win over the Cardinals at Big Rapids High School. (Pioneer photo/Richard Mead)

Cardinals fall to 4-2 after home loss to Tigers

BIG RAPIDS — The Big Rapids boys soccer team was handed its first conference loss of the season on Monday in a 2-1 overtime loss to Grant.

After leading 1-0 through most of regulation, a Grant goal with 2:14 left in the second half sent the game into overtime. Grant junior Christopher Barendreght’s goal with 5:18 left in the extra period sealed the win for the Tigers.

“It was a little bit frustrating,” Big Rapids coach Justin Fox said. “They played some really solid defense and made it tough to get through them. When you let a team hang around enough, you never know what’s going to happen. I told the team that in the last 5 minutes, you have to see the game through. I think we kind of lost our focus a bit.”

Big Rapids junior Edgar Covarrubias scored the game’s first goal on a penalty kick 19:07 minutes into the first half. The penalty kick was enforced after Covarrubias was tripped by Grant goaltender Isaac White in front of the net.

“We were getting opportunities to move forward, but we just couldn’t break through their back line like we wanted to,” Fox said. “We needed a little more sense of urgency toward the end, and a lot of that comes with practice.”

Fox said he believes his team kept its composure throughout the matchup.

“I think we handled it fine,” he said. “Grant was getting frustrated too, and they were sliding at us and stuff. I try to keep on top of them a lot, just trying to make sure they are not reacting or overreacting, getting after the opponent too much.”

Fox said better communication could have helped the Cardinals capitalize on scoring opportunities.

“We still have to keep working on that,” Fox said. “It worked out a lot better last year because we had different personnel. It’s just going to take time. It’s still early, and it’s one of those things you just have to constantly work on. We just have to keep developing and keep getting better going forward.”

The loss drops Big Rapids to 4-2 and 1-1 in the Central State Activities Association. The Cardinals travel to Tri County on Wednesday. They then travel to Greenville on Sept. 8 before playing at Whitehall on Sept. 10.

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