Soccer regional preview: Bucs in good hands with Beswick

Matt DeYoung • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:11 AM

He watched from the bench as Grand Haven made strong tournament runs, advancing to the regional round in the fall of 2008 and beating No. 1-ranked Forest Hills Central in the district tourney in 2009 before falling to rival East Kentwood.

Last fall, Beswick had his chance to contribute as the Bucs’ starting goalie, only to see his team suffer a crushing upset loss at the hands of Reeths-Puffer.

Now, as a senior, Beswick and his teammates are burying the painful memory of last fall by putting together a memorable tournament run of their own. After claiming a district championship last week, they opened regional play on Tuesday with a 1-0 win over Brighton.

Next up for the No. 5-ranked Buccaneers are the No. 7-ranked Rangers of Forest Hills Central. The two teams meet on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Grand Rapids Christian High School.

“This is huge for all of us seniors,” Beswick said after his 12th shutout of the season on Wednesday. “This is what we live for, what we’ve been trying to accomplish. To be three games from the state finals is just ridiculous.”

Grand Haven’s path to the championship game goes through a Forest Hills Central team that visited Buccaneers’ Stadium on Sept. 24. The Bucs won that game, 3-0.

With Beswick in goal and a fantastic group of defenders in front of him, the Buccaneers feel they have a chance to beat any team in the state.

“Ethan’s been fantastic for us,” Buccaneers’ coach Aaron Dean said. “In some of these games, it would be nice for him if he had a little more action, but for us, it’s great when he doesn’t have to do much. He has come up with some fantastic saves when he’s had to.”

Dean said facing a team the Bucs have already played this fall eases some of the pressure that comes along with playing in the quarterfinal round of the state tournament.

“Because (FHC) has the players they have, the reputation they have, the kids are realistic that they’re a really good team,” Dean said. “What’s nice is, we know we can play with them. When you play somebody you don’t know at all, in the back of your head, you have no idea what you’re going to face. Having an idea is helpful.”

Dean said the excitement of the tournament run is becoming infectious.

“The kids are excited, and the moms and dads are excited,” Dean said. “I remember talking to coaches who said, you get to this point and it always happens.

“I’ve been telling the kids, remember, this is what we always do. This is how we always prepare. At the beginning of the year, these were the lessons that are going to be important when it starts to get crazy, and it’s starting to get crazy.”

Also on Saturday, Spring Lake will be shooting for its first regional championship in school history when the Lakers take on Grand Rapids Christian.

That game will also be played at Grand Rapids Christian High School, starting at 2 p.m.

The No. 2-ranked Lakers beat No. 1-ranked DeWitt to reach the regional finals.

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