Finally in the win column

GETTING AFTER IT: Big Rapids' Paige Johnson (7) looks to shield off Reed City's Alaina Woodard (18) during Wednesday's soccer action. (Pioneer photos/Martin Slagter)
GETTING AFTER IT: Big Rapids' Paige Johnson (7) looks to shield off Reed City's Alaina Woodard (18) during Wednesday's soccer action. (Pioneer photos/Martin Slagter)

'Maddie' duo accounts for four Cardinal goals in 5-0 win over Coyotes

BIG RAPIDS — Curt Ray finally got a chance to see his team play a complete game in the outdoors this season. If things go like they did Wednesday in a 5-0 win over Reed City, the Big Rapids coach can’t wait to see what the future holds.

The Cardinals (1-1), who were limited to one half of a game the entire season coming into Wednesday’s game due to poor weather and field conditions, looked sharp despite an obviously slower soccer track due to the muddy elements, leaving Ray excited with the possibilities the rest of the season holds.

“If the girls play this well on a poor playing field, I’ll be excited to see them on a good field,” he said. “We’ve been working on a lot of offensive things and attacking. I thought we moved the ball and possessed it well — they were very patient. Our defense also did a great job.”

The midfield duo of Maddie Bucholtz and Maddie Workman went a long way in helping the Cardinals look good on Wednesday, accounting for four of Big Rapids’ five goals, while Bucholtz set up Melanie Weis for the other goal to help put the Cardinals up 1-0 with 24:16 left in the first half.

The Cardinals increased the lead to 2-0 with about 17 minutes left in the first half when Workman drilled a shot in from inside the penalty kick area.

With 7:34 left in the half it was Bucholtz’ turn to get on the board, as the senior connected on a shot nearly identical to Workman’s to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead at the break.

Reed City coach Bryan Hall said he felt his team was a little behind in making plays when possession was up for grabs on Wednesday.

“We seemed to be a step behind,” he said. “Big Rapids passed well, which makes you look like you’re a step behind. I just don’t think we gave enough effort to win some of the balls I thought we had. We were right there and just didn’t give that last little bit of effort to win it.”

Big Rapids made it 4-0 with 25:41 left in the second half when Bucholtz scored her second goal of the game by weaving between a pair of Reed City defenders before firing it past keeper Heather Tacey.

Bucholtz said she thought her team had played well considering the field conditions, noting that it helped to practice on a sloppy field over the past couple of weeks.

“I think we played well with the field conditions,” she said. “We were all spread out and using the field to our advantage as much as we could, even though we were slipping around. Everyone was where we needed to be and we had the wind going to our advantage most of the time.”

The Cardinals added a goal with just 13 second remaining for good measure, as Workman netted her second tally of the game from about 35 feet out to make it 5-0.

Ray said Wednesday’s offensive outburst started in the middle with the two Maddies and spread its way around to the rest of the team.

“Maddie Workman and Maddie Bucholtz did a nice job of controlling the game from the middle,” he said. “They’re kind of our quarterbacks on the field, and they can play it inside and outside. They did a great job.”

Reed City is in action again on Friday when the Coyotes travel to Mason County Central, while Big Rapids will take on Newaygo on Monday in a road contest.