Reed City boys soccer shut out by Cougars

HEADS UP: Reed City’s Ricky Droke goes up for a header against CCA’s Justin Thorne. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)
HEADS UP: Reed City’s Ricky Droke goes up for a header against CCA’s Justin Thorne. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

REED CITY — It may still be early in the season, but Crossroads boys soccer coach Ross Meads continues to see his team work together while playing aggressively.

The Cougars displayed that sense of urgency on Monday in a 3-0 win over Reed City, scoring in the first five minutes of play while limiting the Coyotes’ offensive scoring chances all evening.

Meads, whose team is now 2-1 on the season, said he was happy to see his team rise to expectations against the Coyotes.

“When you play the local teams, the ones where you know people, it’s always a big game,” he said. “I was very pleased with our teamwork in the first half. The second half was a little chippy, but they played small ball the way I liked and had a lot of chances that we couldn’t finish.”

The Cougars were the aggressors in the first half, in particular, getting good passes up from the defenders to the wings in creating scoring chances early.

CCA got on the board with 35:38 left in the first half following a direct kick, when Andy Duddles was able to slip by Reed City’s last line of defense to make it 1-0.

The Cougars continued to get quality scoring chances throughout the first half, including a free kick by Caleb Bennett that Blake McKenzie was able to head into the crossbar, but Reed City goalkeeper Ben Schermerhorn was able to collect it with a nice leaping save.

“When you’re away from home, it’s always nice when you’re aggressive,” Mead said. “We had some very nice plays to the wing, we just couldn’t cross it. But it’s nice to see them get to the ball and play together.”

Reed City coach Dave Mix was disappointed with his team’s performance after it started the season 3-1, giving the Cougars credit for enforcing their own style of play.

“It was another learning experiences so far, but this one kind of hurt because we didn’t play to our expectations or abilities,” he said. “You have to give Crossroads a lot of credit. They had great through balls and they attacked us well by spreading us wide and thin.”

Crossroads increased its lead to 2-0 with 3:05 left in the half when forward David Hunt hit a shot in front of the net that Schermerhorn let pass between his legs.

Reed City began to put some runs together in the second half, but Crossroads’ defense was up to the task every time.

Ricky Droke broke free down the right sideline, slipping past a CCA defender, but shot wide on Joseph Balanda.

Meads credited the teamwork between defensemen Justin Thorne and Hene Pavanti for not only standing tall against the Reed City attack, but for pushing the ball up the field to the midfielders and forwards to create scoring chances.

“Justin (Thorne) and Hene (Pavanti) played together very well,” he said. “When one pushed up the field, the other was back. What I like about (Monday) was we had 11 guys playing offense and 11 playing defense. You saw the defense start a lot of offensive plays by controlling the ball — they didn’t just kick it out.”

Crossroads added its final goal of the afternoon with 39 seconds remaining when Hunt delivered a through ball to Leonel Zepeda, who crossed the ball to McKenzie for the wide open goal.

Both teams are in action again today, with Reed City hosting Big Rapids at 6 p.m., while Crossroads will host Houghton Lake at 5 p.m.

Mix said he likes the fact that his team is sticking together and it will need to again today.

“We need to regroup, and obviously soon — within 24 hours — because we’ve got to get ready for the other Big Rapids team,” he said. “The biggest thing as a positive is that we hung together at the end of the match. We’re still playing 80 minutes. If we get a couple of breaks, we’ll be able to bounce back.”

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from this game.