Big Rapids soccer girls blank Reed City in CSAA showdown

Late first half goal sparks Cardinal attack

Big Rapids Teresa Vance (7) battles Reed City's Nora Smoes (10) for the ball in Wednesday soccer action.

Big Rapids Teresa Vance (7) battles Reed City's Nora Smoes (10) for the ball in Wednesday soccer action.

John Raffel

REED CITY – Kyra Couch’s timing for her first of two goals in Wednesday’s Central State Activities Association match between Big Rapids and Reed City couldn’t have been better.

With five seconds to go in the first half, Couch scored to snap a 0-0 tie and give the Cardinals a critical lead at the intermission, en route to a 4-0 win.

Couch scored two goals and Julia Waltz and Teresa Vance had one apiece. Couch also scored on a penalty kick.

On her first goal to beat the halftime buzzer, “one of my teammates sent it over,” Couch said. “The goaltender was running out, I was running out and I just dropped it in. It got our team boosted up and going.

“I feel we really picked it up the second half and really played as a team and communicated.”

“The first half we played a little rough,” Rebecca Allers said. “The second half, we kind of picked it up and connected passes. Our chemistry was better that second half.”

Emma Balahoski was the winning keeper.

Big Rapids is 10-3-2. The Cardinals finished the league season at 7-0-1. Newaygo is 6-0-1 and has a makeup game Friday at Chippewa Hills.

“Andrea (Pollaski) has done a good job developing the program here,” Big Rapids coach Curt Ray said. “They’re aggressive. They’ve got some good athletic girls on their team. It’s always a big rivalry between Reed City and Big Rapids, no matter what sport. We’ve tried to step up practice. We’re working the girls harder, looking into the postseason.

“We kind of wore (Reed City) down a little bit and started putting some passes together. They’ve got a lot of numbers in the box and you have to be creative in scoring. Couch is that weapon and Allers had a great game. We had a lot of opportunities. Ella Tucci, Teresa Vance and Elise Devries was our defensive line. Grace Currie is hurt. Hadley Fox stepped in there and did a great job.”

Miriah Hodges was the keeper for Reed City.

“We played a really good first half,” Pollaski said. “It was pretty even. They got that goal with five seconds to go. Then we came out a little slower than in the first half and got a little tired. We had our chances. We played well.”

Reed City’s regular season has ended and the CSAA tournament starts on Monday against an opponent and location to be announced later.

Big Rapids had a 28-1 advantage in shots and 8-1 lead in shots on goal.

Big Rapids plays in the Freeland Tournament this weekend.

“Freeland is always ranked in the top 10 there,” Ray said. “We’d like to be competitive with them. We could see them late in the postseason.”