Tri County soccer eliminates Reed City

Tri County comes away with 8-1 district semifinal victory

BIG RAPIDS — The Tri County Vikings outscored the Reed City Coyotes 16-2 in two games during the regular season and kept the offense coming in the postseason as Reed City fell, 8-1, in the Division 3 district semifinals at Big Rapids High School on Thursday night.

The Coyotes, who surprised Lakeview with a 3-0 win in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, came out with their sights set on another upset, controlling the time of possession in the opening minutes, but the Vikings started to get looks on the offensive end around the 32-minute mark.

The Vikings continued to pepper Reed City goalkeeper Troy Giese with shots and he was able to fend them off until an unfortunate deflection off a Coyote went into the goal, giving the Vikings a 1-0 advantage with 24:06 left in the first half on the Reed City own-goal.

The teams battled back and forth from there until Reed City pulled Tri County goalie Brenden Armstrong out of position, with Quinton Kichak finding the back of the net at 18:34 to knot things up at 1-1.

“The first game we played with them was the first of the season and we had our own mind games to play in that one,” Reed City coach Betty Kichak said. “When we played the second time, we gave them a little show. This one we gave them a little show too.”

However, the tie didn’t last long, with Tri County’s Dylan Matulis scoring from the left side to give his team a 2-1 lead with 16:02 left in the half.

Less than four minutes later, Marco Lagunas added another Tri County score, pushing the lead to 3-1 in the district semifinal tilt.

The Reed City defense stepped up as time ticked down in the half, but the Coyotes couldn’t keep the high-powered Viking offense off the board with 4:35 left in the first as Lagunas sent his second goal in on a header to make it 4-1.

Matulis added another goal with 2:25 left as the goals poured in, with the Vikings tallying two more in the last two minutes, one on another header from Lagunas, completing his first-half hat trick, and another from Matulis, his third as well, with 56 seconds left, pushing the lead to 7-1 going into halftime.

“They’re just a good aggressive team,” Reed City sweeper Thayne Stieg said. “They came out and scored a quick one, but we got one back, but they kind of just turned it on and we couldn’t do anything to stop them.”

The Vikings added one more in the second half as the Coyotes continued to struggle on offense, with Matulis scoring on a penalty kick to give the Vikings the 8-1 victory.

Even though the Coyotes’ unlikely postseason run was cut short on Thursday, Betty Kichak was proud of how her squad progressed throughout the season.

“I told them my favorite time of the year is March Madness,” she said. “It’s because the underdog seems to come out and play well, so this was October Madness for us. I think our guys shocked people and that’s great.

“My goal as a coach, and I told the young men, was to see them grow as a team and as individuals,” she continued. “We have grown immensely and if you compare the games, it’s night and day.”

“It sure felt good (to make it to semifinals),” Stieg said. “We didn’t have a very good regular season, so just for us to get here felt good and we pulled one (game) out. It was good to extend it for a few more days.”

The loss marks the end of the Coyotes’ season while Tri County moves on to play either Grant or Newaygo on Saturday at noon for the district championship.