Pine River falls to MCC in season-opening match

LEROY — Pine River’s soccer lamented its season opener at home on Friday with limited preseason time and that factor didn’t help the Bucks in their 8-0 loss to Mason County Central. The host Spartans built a 5-0 lead and scored the eighth goal with 6:16 left in regulation to invoke the mercy rule.

Connor Willick scored the last two goals for MCC. He also scored earlier in the game. Cody Newman netted four goals. Brad Padgett had the other goal. Jared Jones was the goalkeeper.

“We’re a very young team,” MCC coach Scott Scheffler said. “We have only five returning starters from last year. This was our first chance to put everything together and have a chance to play. For the most part, I was pretty happy with it.”

Brad Holmes, a first-year player, was keeper for the Bucks.

Pine River coach Jennifer Hoaglund enters the season with a 16-player roster. Several of the players are girls including returnees Stephanie Ashcroft, Dana Hill and Anna Lindquist.

Other players are Harlee Charles, Doug Connor, Morgan Edstrom, Owen Gray, Connor Hoaglund, Steven Hilkowski, Brad Holmes, Jacob Johnson, Jenna Johnson, Brady Loop, Louis Poumode, Zac Underhill and Kelly Witherspoon.

Holmes, making his soccer debut, played keeper for the Bucks.

Connor, Hilkowski and Underhill are among the boys players returning from last year’s squad.

Hoaglund wasn’t at the game because of a family emergency and assistant coach Ethan Crawford ran the team.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Crawford said. “For a lot of the people on our team, this is their first year. We can only go somewhere from here.”

The Bucks started practice Aug. 12, Crawford pointed out.

“We didn’t put our heads down too much,” he said after the game. “That’s important.”

It also was MCC’s season opener. Pine River plays Monday at Buckley, Wednesday at Kent City and is at home Friday against Manistee.