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Girls soccer district preview

Tribune Staff • May 29, 2018 at 12:04 AM

As temperatures climb and with June right around the corner, local soccer teams will start their playoff journeys this week with the district tournament, dreaming of a run to Williamston and the state finals June 15-16.

The Lakers were the lone local representatives in the regional tournament last season, falling to the eventual state runner-up Forest Hills Northern in the regional final. They eliminated the Trojans along the way, while the Bucs fell one game short of a district crown and will see a similar road as they look to right the ship this postseason. Finally, Western Michigan Christian ended their regular season on a tear and hopes to hold their momentum through a top-tier opening matchup.

Let’s take a closer look at this week’s district tournament matchups for the Bucs, Lakers, Trojans and Warriors.

DIVISION 1 AT JENISON

TUESDAY

District opener: Jenison vs. Mona Shores, 6 p.m. at Jenison; West Ottawa vs. Grand Haven, 6 p.m. at West Ottawa; Hudsonville vs. Grandville, 6 p.m. at Hudsonville

FRIDAY

District semifinals: Jenison-Mona Shores winner vs. West Ottawa- Grand Haven winner, 5 p.m.; Hudsonville –Grandville winner vs. GR Union, 7 p.m.

SATURDAY

District finals: Semifinals winners, 5 p.m.

NOTES: The O-K Red and Black Conferences clash in West Michigan’s premiere district tournament at Jenison this week. The Bucs enjoyed a bye into the semifinals last season, defeating Jenison there to take on Mona Shores in the finals, losing 3-1.

The Sailors have enjoyed another prolific season, finishing 17-1-1, and will likely make short work of Jenison in their opening round matchup. If the Bucs want another shot at the regional tournament, they will have to upset Mona Shores in the second round. The good news? The Sailors’ lone loss on the year came by the Bucs’ sabers, 4-3, on May 12. The bad news? Mona Shores finished the season on a four-game winning streak, outscoring opponents, 32-0.

Fellow O-K Red powerhouse Grandville (14-2-2) lurks on the other side of the bracket, ready to spoil the fun of whoever cracks the finals.

Finals prediction: Mona Shores over Grandville

DIVISION 2 AT FRUITPORT

TUESDAY

District opener: Fruitport vs. Muskegon, 6 p.m; Spring Lake vs. Reeths-Puffer, 6 p.m. at Spring Lake; Sparta vs. Kenowa Hills, 6 p.m. at Sparta

THURSDAY

District semifinal: Coopersville vs. Fruitport-Muskegon winner, 5 p.m.; Spring Lake-Reeths-Puffer winner vs. Sparta-Kenowa Hills winner, 3 p.m.

SATURDAY

District final: Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.

NOTES: All signs are pointing to another Fruitport, Spring Lake rivalry matchup in the district finals. The Lakers won the battle last season, 3-0, holding all their opponents to zero goals over the course of the tournament.

Spring Lake’s road to the finals begins with Reeths-Puffer, before a likely matchup with Sparta in the semifinals, who they defeated by a total score of 11-0 in their two meetings during the regular season.

Fruitport’s road to the finals mirrors their run last season, beginning with Muskegon in the opener and Coopersville via bye in the semifinals. The Trojans easily handled both teams in 2017, winning 8-0, and 7-0, respectively.

In their regular season meeting, Spring Lake defeated Fruitport, 4-0, behind a ballistic second-half performance by the Lakers after a 0-0 tie at halftime.

Finals prediction: Spring Lake over Fruitport

DIVISION 4 AT MUSKEGON CATHOLIC CENTRAL

TUESDAY

District opener: Western Michigan Christian vs. Fruitport Calvary Christian, 5:30 p.m.; BYE: Ravenna, North Muskegon, Muskegon Catholic Central

THURSDAY

District semifinal: WMC -FCC winner vs. Ravenna, 3:45 p.m.; North Muskegon vs. MCC, 6 p.m.

SATURDAY

District final: Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m.

NOTES: Rivalry matchups are plentiful in the district round this year, as Western Michigan Christian and Muskegon Catholic Central find themselves on a district-final collision course.

The Warriors took some time to find their identity this season, starting off the year 4-8 before rebounding down the stretch to finish 10-10 overall and 5-1 in Lakes Eight conference play. Assuming their resurgence continues, they should have no problem dismissing Fruitport Calvary and Ravenna.

The Crusaders will need to navigate an upset in the semifinals to meet the Warriors in the title game as they drew undefeated North Muskegon in their playoff opener.

Finals prediction: North Muskegon over WMC

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