Big Rapids soccer team rolls past Grant

HUSTLE: Big Rapids’ Josie Sanders (10) and the Cardinal soccer team are still unbeaten in league action. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

HUSTLE: Big Rapids’ Josie Sanders (10) and the Cardinal soccer team are still unbeaten in league action. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

BIG RAPIDS — The Big Rapids Cardinals continued to roll over Central State Activities Association Gold Division soccer opponents on Monday.

Big Rapids improved to 15-1 and stayed undefeated in the conference with an 8-3 home win over Grant. It was 4-2 at halftime.

Hannah Davis had four goals and Selma Wright two for Big Rapids while Jenna Buck, and Kaitlyn Ray added one apiece. Wright also had two assists while Brettanya Zimmer had one.

“I thought the keys were definitely the outside,” Buck said. “We passed to the outside and someone was always in the middle to clean it up. Defense worked hard. We have to work on our first touches going to the ball.”

Goalkeeper Halle Stork had seven saves for the Cardinals. Big Rapids had an 18-10 advantage in shots on net.

In the second half, “we stepped it up,” Buck said, adding that in the first half, “we were a little lazy and tired. But we picked it up and got some motivation.”

“I think we had a little bit of a slow start,” Big Rapids junior Kiara Cushway said. “We started connecting passes and picked it up in the second half.”

Big Rapids was coming off a 3-0 record from the Comstock Park Invitational on Saturday.

“We had some good possessions and worked together pretty well,” Cushway said. “We’re working together and connecting passes.”

In a 2-1 win over Zeeland West, Davis had both goals. Stork had seven saves.

The Cardinals blanked Comstock Park 5-0 and had a 17-8 shots advantage. Davis had two goals while Kayla Somsel, Ashley Vissers and Leah Alley had one apiece. Stork had four saves.

Big Rapids blanked Wayland 2-0. Davis scored both goals. Stork had six saves.

“We had a lot of touches and were very patient with the ball,” Buck said. “We had good possession and very good team play and good finishing. We were ready to play. (The competition) was fairly competitive. They were aggressive.”

Big Rapids is home Wednesday against Tri County.

“The freshmen are stepping up and we’ve learned to communicate better on the field,” Buck said. “We have some awesome coaches.”

Buck’s role at outside mid has basically been the same.

“I’m left-footed, always have been,” she said. “It’s the best position for me out there on the left. I have a lot more patience (this season) and (am improving) in possession and ball control.”

Buck, a senior, is in her fourth varsity season, and will be playing next season at Concordia University, Ann Arbor. But Buck and the Cardinals are looking for a lengthy postseason before she ends her high school career.”

“We want to win districts for sure,” she said.

“We just have to stay focused and not get nervous,” Cushway said.

It’s Cushway’s third soccer season.

The defense “is playing pretty well,” she said. “We’re a lot closer than we have been. We work very well together.”

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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