CCA soccer beats Algoma Christian in penalty kicks in district opener

DISTRICT: Crossroads Charter Academy’s Tayo Fadayomi (18) looks to make a move around an Algoma Christian defender on Monday. The Cougars won 1-0 in penalty kicks. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

DISTRICT: Crossroads Charter Academy’s Tayo Fadayomi (18) looks to make a move around an Algoma Christian defender on Monday. The Cougars won 1-0 in penalty kicks. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

BIG RAPIDS — This isn’t the regular season anymore.

Crossroads Charter Academy’s boys soccer team realized this after battling Algoma Christian to a 1-0 shootout victory Monday night in Division 4 district action.

CCA won a 6-1 battle against Algoma Christian during the regular season.

The game was tied after 80 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods. After the best-of-five shootout round, it was tied 4-4. CCA won it in Round 2 when Tayo Fadayomi’s shot caught the lower corner of the net past Knights’ goalkeeper Connor Matthysse.

“We faced these guys during the season on their turf, did real well, played solid and were up significantly at the end of that match,” CCA coach Josh Yurick said. “I think my guys had some expectations going in that it would end up like last game. The Algoma team really brought their best players today. It’s exciting soccer. More than anything, that was important.”

CCA (11-9) plays Grand Rapids Covenant Christian at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at home in a district semifinal game.

Algoma Christian’s season ends at 1-12-1.

“Our players have been through a lot of transition with their head coach,” Knights’ coach Ryan Ruth said. “I stepped in halfway through the season. These are the players sticking together. They could have quit ,but they stayed. They really started playing together and realized their potential.”

Both teams had good scoring chances in the 100 minutes of regulation, but Matthysse and CCA keeper Ben Martinez denied every opportunity.

“We were playing as a team the whole game,” Martinez said. “We got a few breaks, some unlucky. We finally capped it off.”

It’s the first time CCA has gone to penalty kicks this season.

“I tried to get through to them to maintain their focus,” Yurick said of his players. “It’s something with a group of high school boys you struggle with. They surpassed my expectations this evening with their amount of focus when it comes down to it.”

Algoma was four of seven against Martinez in the shootout.

“We all hustled hard,” Martinez said. “Not one person took a play off.”

In the first shootout round, both teams were 4 of 5. Brooks Angell, Fabian Kruetz, Luke Zandstra and Martinez scored for CCA. Drew Harrier, Sedene World, Stephen Brillinger and Matthysse converted for the visitors.

Then it came down to single elimination. Neither team scored on the first set of kicks. In the second set, Jacob Tol fired his kick too wide for Algoma Christian, but Fadayomi didn’t miss.

The Cougars have not faced Grand Rapids Covenant Christian this season.

“We have to play together as a team, play small ball and play within ourselves,” Martinez said.

Yurick added, “The key will be rest, focus and maybe run through some shootout scenarios.”

Benzie Central 6, Reed City 1

REED CITY — Quinton Kichak scored for Reed City in its district opener.

“We played well and it was 1-0 (Benzie) at halftime,” Reed City coach Cody Jacobs said. “We were in a good spot, but in the second half, they had a few more opportune spots than we did and made the most of it.”

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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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