But a hard-fought 3-2 loss in overtime at a rain-soaked Buccaneer Stadium against rival and No. 1-ranked East Kentwood was certainly a step in the right direction for a young Grand Haven team.
“East Kentwood came into the game ranked No. 1, so to play them tough like this was certainly a boost for the kids,” said Bucs’ coach Aaron Dean. “Our problem was, we went down to Portage (to open the season) and we did real well. That gave us a big boost in confidence, and we forgot about the work that has to happen, the details, and some of the results after that were disappointing.
“Those are lessons you’ve got to learn with a young group.”
On Thursday, the Buccaneers showed their resiliency. They overcame a Kentwood goal just three minutes into the game, eventually tying the contest on a Hector Chavez rebound with 19:40 remaining.
The Falcons pulled back ahead with 16:42 left in regulation, but with time running out, the Bucs’ Mike Moran answered with a spectacular shot. He drilled a volley from 30 yards out that slammed into the top of the net, tying the game at 2-2.
That sent the game into overtime, where Kentwood took advantage of a free kick just outside the Bucs’ penalty box. Charles Constantino deftly bent his shot over a wall of Grand Haven defenders and just underneath the crossbar, giving Bucs’ keeper Corey Vanderlaan no chance to make the save.
“There’s not much you can do about the free kick,” Dean said. “The issue there is not giving up the free kick. They’ve got so many skilled kids.”
To read more of this story, see today's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.