The Grand Haven boys soccer team dominated Hudsonville in their first matchup of the season to the tune of a 7-0 thrashing and added a 3-0 road win a few weeks later.
Saturday’s Division 1 district championship match between the two programs proved to be a much more difficult challenge than many anticipated, however, as Grand Haven had to dig deep to find the winning plays in a 2-0 win over the Hudsonville.
The Buccaneers advance to face the winner of East Kentwood and Forest Hills Central in the Division 1 regional semifinals on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Portage Northern High School.
The Buccaneers and the Eagles battled for possession through the first 40 minutes with neither team netting a goal.
After both teams ramped up the intensity in the second half, the Buccaneers had a few looks at a potential game-defining goal.
Then, with 23 minutes left in regulation, Grand Haven senior forward Conner Lund sent a ball at the Hudsonville net. The Eagles’ keeper stopped the initial attempt, but failed to corral the loose ball.
Buccaneer senior Trent Perkins, who was crashing hard to the net, slammed home the rebound shot into the back of the net to give Grand Haven a 1-0 lead.
Hudsonville was forced out of their defensive scheme after that, and Grand Haven used that opportunity to stretch the field. The Buccaneers fending off the Eagles’ advances, limiting Hudsonville to only two shot attempts the rest of the way.
With the clock running down to the final 10 seconds and the Buccaneers already preparing to celebrate, Grand Haven junior forward Mason Mahacek split a pair of Hudsonville defenders and sent a shot past the keeper with three seconds remaining to leave no doubt.
As the clock expired, the Grand Haven soccer team celebrated a well-earned district championship.
The third time wasn’t a charm for Hudsonville, but this Buccaneers squad might have a lucky streak left in them as they prepare for another potential O-K Red Conference.
For more on this story, check out Monday’s edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.