Cards kick into gear

Big Rapids soccer team takes down rival Reed City with strong second half

BIG RAPIDS — A strong offensive performance from the Big Rapids boys soccer team on Tuesday led the Cardinals to a 6-0 victory over Reed City. The Cardinals went into the half with a 2-0 lead, but scored four goals in the second half to put the game away. Big Rapids coach Justin Fox said while he wasn’t necessarily happy with his team’s passing in the first half, he was pleased to see the Cardinals make adjustments at the half and make tighter passes in the final half. “I really think that our passing was off in the first half,” he said. “It took us a little while to settle in but we talked about it at halftime and made some adjustments and started moving the ball around more.” With the Cardinals being a young team, Fox said he’s just been looking to see steady improvement from game-to-game. “We always have a chance to improve,” he said. “I see some good improvement in some aspects of the game. We’re still really young and we still have a lot of work to do, but we’re gaining that experience and the guys are figuring out the little things they need to do every game.” First-year Reed City coach Matt Webster also said his goal in the early portion of the season is to see continued improvement from his young squad each game. “We had maybe one of the best first halves of soccer we’ve played so far,” he said. “That’s kind of our mantra this season is getting better every game and improving and working hard. We just played a good team (Tuesday).” The Cardinals’ first goal came from Scott Vander Sloot with 32:35 left in the first half with Big Rapids’ other first-half goal coming from Ansel White with 9:28 left in the half. Big Rapids got back on the board quickly coming out of halftime with Vander Sloot’s second goal of the night with 39:41 left in regulation. Jimmy Morningstar got in on the scoring fun for the Cardinals with two straight goals, one with 27:38 to play and the other with 23:46 left, and Ryan Joseph converted a penalty kick with 14:57 left to play for the Cardinals’ final goal of the night. Reed City keeper Troy Giese made 18 saves on the day. “(Troy)’s taken a lot of heat and he’s doing a great job for us back there,” Webster said. “It’s a tough spot to be in playing keeper for a young team. I couldn’t ask for more from him.” Despite the final outcome, Webster said he was encouraged by the determination he saw from the Coyotes on Tuesday. “I’m seeing some grit, especially (Tuesday),” he said. “We’ve had a rocky start, but that’s sort of developed our goal of getting better every game and for us to keep making those baby steps that we need to make to be able to compete with a team like Big Rapids.” Reed City (1-5) returns to action today to host Pine River while Big Rapids (4-2) heads to Newaygo on Thursday.