The local girls soccer teams begin the playoffs today as district action gets underway.
All three coaches say they are ready to go for the postseason.
“I feel pretty good,” Lakeview coach Chris Smith said. “We had a good last week of games against some solid opponents. I think we’re pretty set for (today).”
“We’re combining several of the JV players who had a good year. That will give us a lot more bench,” Belding coach Blaine Kemme said. “That was the thing with us where we had just one or two reserves. We’re bringing some good freshman players up and it will give us the ability to do more substitutions and keep fresh players on the field.”
“I feel pretty good,” Greenville coach Chris Hamman said. “I think we got a good draw in the first round with Ionia at Ionia. I think we should matchup pretty well against them. What I’m hoping is that we can move on after that because if we win we face Forest Hills Eastern and they beat us twice.”
The Yellow Jackets will open the Division 2 Cedar Springs district by traveling to Ionia to face the Bulldogs.
“I don’t know a lot about Ionia,” Hamman said. “There wasn’t a lot out there for their past games to judge from. I’m going a little bit blind and I didn’t get a chance to see them.”
Hamman said one key for Greenville to win will be to move the ball down the field.
“I think for us if we just have to connect some passes especially in the midfield,” he said. “In some games we’ve done it better than others. If we connect passes in the middle we are in the opponent’s third of the field. It’s just a matter of ball control and possession, I think.”
The Redskins will face a familiar foe in O-K Blue Conference rival Comstock Park in the first round of the Division 3 Tri County district. Belding split two regular-season games with the Panthers, with each winning their home game.
“The key was they (Comstock Park) have a very good goalkeeper,” Kemme said. “It was just the ability to get the shots past her. It’s going to come down to our ability to finish well. The first time we got shots past her, the second time she stopped everything.”
Kemme likes his chances if they can get shots.
“We had the opportunities when we beat them. We stand a good opportunity to advance,” he said.
In the other half of the Tri County bracket, the Wildcats will host Grand Rapids West Catholic.
“It’s hard to compare them to us. They play mostly Grand Rapids area schools so their record doesn’t look like ours,” Smith said. “But I expect it to be pretty equal competition.”
Smith is looking for his young team to feed off the upperclassmen.
“We really need leadership from our senior players,” he said. “We have three seniors who start and the rest are freshmen and sophomores. If we get some leadership there, play well defensively and put a few goals in we’ll have some success.”
All the first-round games are today.