Grand Haven struck first, with Jack DeKlyen serving up a well-placed free kick to Trent Perkins, who crashed the net and gave the Bucs a 1-0 lead 25 minutes into the game.
Traverse City West evened the score at 1-1 four minutes into the second half, and ratcheted up the intensity in the non-conference match.
Undaunted, senior playmaker Conner Lund slipped a shot past the Traverse City West keeper off an assist from Tavin Ardell with 22 minutes remaining to give the Bucs a 2-1 lead.
With 14:32 remaining, Grand Haven’s Noah VanOordt jolted up the right sideline and hit a beautiful cross to Joe Walsh, who calmly poked the shot into the net. Thirty seconds later, Jaden King rocketed a shot past the keeper on a pass from Lund to give the hosts an insurmountable three-goal lead late in the second half.
“The game went in waves. Traverse City (West) started strong and carried play the first 20 minutes of the game with solid possession,” said Grand Haven head coach Aaron Dean. “The set piece goal from Trent turned the game around. It looked like Traverse City (West) was going to really make it a game with the strong strike they had early on, but we made a little tweak in our formation and it seemed to open things up. We were able to hold a little more possession and started to find our way through their defense for some strong scoring chances.
“TC was a tough a game. They have consistent scoring threats at forward and their goalkeeper made some big saves, including a penalty kick when the game was still 1-1. I was pleased with our patience. We didn't panic and the guys really stuck together and as the game wore on, you could feel the momentum shifting. We're happy to take the W, but more happy that we're continuing to find improvement from one game to the next."
Dean was impressed with the play of his defensive unit, which is a completely new group this season, after having a strong group of seniors in 2016.
"Our back line of Adam Glasser, Jarett Prins, Trent Perkins and Cole Tubergen, along with Trevor Kalis, have really stepped up and come together as a unit,” added Dean. “Conner Lund is proving to be dangerous up top with two goals and an assist in our first two games."
Grand Haven hosts Midland Dow on Thursday at 6:45 p.m.
Junior varsity: Grand Haven defeated Traverse City West 2-1 on Tuesday in its home opener, scoring the winning goal with just 11 seconds remaining in the match.
After a scoreless first half, the Bucs (2-0) and Trojans both ramped up the pressure in the second stanza. Sophomore Jayden Palarz chipped a ball from the endline over the keeper and into the path of sophomore Zach Falconer, who smashed a side volley into the back of the net to give Grand Haven a 1-0 lead. The Trojans rallied quickly, however. After a mistimed tackle in the back, a Traverse City West forward had a clean breakaway and tied the game just one minute later.
Grand Haven sophomore Andre Edmond coolly slotting home a pass from sophomore Dylan Fett in the game's final seconds to give the Buccaneers the thrilling home win.
SL soccer falls to Mona Shores
The Spring Lake soccer team dropped their third straight game Tuesday, falling to rival Mona Shores, 3-1.
“It looks like I am going to have to do some work as a coach to make my money this year,” Spring Lake head coach Jeremy Thelen said.
“We played a very good first half but gave up two goals in a three minute span in the 1st half. We scored five minutes after they did to make it 2-1, but couldn’t finish any of our chances the rest of the way. They got a late goal on us to bring it to 3-1.”
Tommy Fine netted the Lakers’ lone goal of the contest, assisted by Max White.
The two rapid-fire Sailor goals came as a familiar feeling to the Lakers, who gave up two close goals in their loss to Unity Christian last week.
“We kind of have to get used to the speed of varsity,” Thelen said. “If we make a mistake we just have to learn how to forget about it and keep playing, we are hanging our heads.”
The loss did show some bright spots in a rotation Thelen is still working to shore up.
“Robby Heirtlip, his job in the middle was to run all day and he played very well and Evan Ernst and Joe Cossey played extremely well defensively,” he said.
The Lakers have a quick turnaround to recover from their loss before they take on rival Fruitport on Thursday, still looking for their first win of the season.
“We need more continuity in the team and consistency in our play and togetherness. We are only ten days into the season, tomorrow will be two weeks since tryouts, so just figuring out where everyone goes and finding that chemistry is what we have to do before Thursday, that should have us fixed up for the rivalry game.
WMC soccer wins wild game over Covenant Christian
The Western Michigan Christian boys soccer team continued their winning ways on Tuesday, winning a wild match over Covenant Christian, 7-3.
The host Warriors scored three goals in the first half to take a 3-1 lead and added four more in the second half to hold on for the win.
Adam VanHoven recorded a hat trick and one assist to lead the Warriors (3-0), while Brandon Fles, Tommy TenCate, Josh Paquin and JohnScott Finley each added one goal, and Evan Fles and Owen Alfree each added one assist.
“We played a very good game and worked well as a team,” said WMC head coach David Hulings. “The ball movement was very good, and we are finding out how to play with each other. We have to figure that out, and we have to learn each other. But, after three games and a scrimmage, they are coming along. Our team has great potential, and we have to keep moving forward and look forward to our next game.”
The Warriors next game will be against NorthPointe Christian on Thursday at 6 p.m.