HOWARD CITY — Tri County’s girls soccer team fought off a tough opponent Thursday, as the Vikings moved on to play in the Division 3 district tournament.
The Vikings survived a close game against Belding, winning 4-3.
“They (Tri County) stepped up, moved the ball around and played good defense in the second half,” said Vikings coach Vic Matulis. “Total domination.”
Belding coach Blaine Kemme was lamenting some missed opportunities.
“Not the outcome we wanted, but we played a good game,” Kemme said. “We had several great opportunities right there at the front of the net but couldn’t put the foot on it to put it in.”
The first six minutes looked like the game might be a scoring fest. Tri County’s Lauren Olsen scored in the fifth minute only to see Redskins freshman
Tina Griffioen knocking a lead pass from Katie Wood to tie the game at one a piece 21 seconds later.
“We responded well; they (Belding) played well, they never stopped and never gave up,” Kemme said.
“In the beginning, that’s what happens,” Matulis said. “The other team scores and someone counterattacks and gets a score. You just have to settle down, and we did. We settled down, moved some players around a little bit and started playing tough.”
Elise Ketelaar gave the Vikings (12-7 overall) a lead they would never relinquish by scoring two goals seven minutes apart. The first came off a lead pass from Lena Thompson while the second was head-passed in after a cross from Olsen.
In the second half, Griffioen scored on a direct kick from just outside the penalty box just five minutes in to cut the deficit, but Griffioen and Ketelaar traded goals a minute apart for the final score. Both of those goals were hat tricks for the respective players.
“One-touches win games,” Matulis said. “Every score we had was on one-touches. When they (Tri County) one-touch we move the ball. When they don’t, we lose the ball.”
“It was a matter of the few missed opportunities that we had in front of the net,” Kemme said. “Just couldn’t get it in for the equalizer or the go-ahead.”
Belding (5-12) was busy with 10 shots on goal. On the defensive end, Redskins goalkeeper Kylee Chickering made 10 saves on 14 Tri County shots.
Vikings goalkeeper Kaitlyn Moore made six saves.
GR Catholic Central 5, Lakeview 0
LAKEVIEW — The Vikings will face the Grand Rapids Catholic Central Cougars after they shut out the Lakeview Wildcats 5-0 in the other semifinal.
“Catholic Central had speed at every position, good footwork and good shooting, and were able to control the game for the most part,” Lakeview coach Chris Smith said. “They were too much to handle.”
Wildcats goalkeeper Danielle Grant had to make 24 saves.
“Despite the five goals she played well and hustled her butt off,” Smith said of Grant.
Lakeview played short some players, all of which who had anterior cruciate ligament tears, Smith noted.
“Being three starters down, I was proud of the way the girls handled it,” he said.
Lakeview ended its season with an overall record of 11-5-1.