Grand Haven entered the game ranked No. 6 in Div. 1 while Unity was the No. 1-ranked team in Division 2.
The Crusaders certainly looked like one of the state’s top teams early as their superior size and outstanding individual talent helped them put a ton of pressure on the Bucs.
“We were a bit lucky to get out of the first 10-15 minutes without giving up a goal,” said Grand Haven coach Aaron Dean, whose team is now 9-3-5 on the season. “It seemed that our ability to throw a lot of guys into the game helped, over time, deal with their pressure as we were able to match, and here and there beat them out to a few balls.”
The Bucs slowly began to turn the tide, and late in the first half, scored the game’s lone goal. The play started when Isaak Braak won the ball in the midfield and drilled a long pass out to the right wing, where Ian Yetzke took possession.
Yetzke slid the ball off to teammate Mason Harloff, who then slid the ball to Derek Braak on the left side.
With two defenders and Unity’s goalie closing in, Braak alertly chipped a shot over the charging keeper and into the empty net.
The Bucs held onto the lead going into halftime, then actually played better in the second half, managing to increase their time of possession and even out the play.
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