GRAND HAVEN – Offense was the name of the game in Tuesday night’s O-K Red soccer matchup between Grand Haven and Hudsonville, with the Eagles claiming a 5-3 win.
“I went back and told the boys I was very proud of them because they did not put their heads down,” Grand Haven head coach Nick Tejchma said. “It was a rough start, but we changed some things. We knew coming into this game with some changes we were making on the field and some formation things that were going on with our team. I told them to expect to make some mistakes and acclimating to that.”
The Eagles' offense was strong in the first half, jumping out to a three-goal advantage with the third goal coming off of a corner kick with nine minutes and 55 seconds remaining in the half. The Eagles took advantage of Grand Haven goalie Jack Kurburski’s aggressiveness on the first two goals, but the Buccaneers would soon respond with their first goal.
Junior Emarrean Banks was positioned behind the goalie when his teammate sent a pass into the box and the ball sailed over the outstretched hands of the keeper, giving Banks a wide open net and he headed it in. Banks’ goal with 4:44 left in the half made the score 3-1.
Grand Haven came out of half with the momentum and built on it as Banks found teammate Max Jerovsek in the box for a goal with 35 minutes left in the game. The Eagles responded quickly when the Buccaneer goalie came out to collect a high ball and mistimed his jump, allowing Hudsonville a wide open net for a score and a 4-2 lead.
The Bucs had opportunities all match. Banks nearly scored a second header goal, but his effort hit the crossbar. The Eagles scored their fifth goal not long after that attempt as they found one of their forwards streaking down the field. He dribbled around a couple of Grand Haven defenders and kicked a laser past the goalie.
“We talked about how we have to finish those opportunities when we are in their final third and put those away," Tejchma said. "When we are in practice just cleaning up our touches, have that 110 percent effort during practice and put away those opportunities when we get free kicks and corner kicks.”
The Buccaneers were not done fighting. With 18 minutes remaining, Brady McDonald connected with Jerovsek, who found the back of the net for the second time in the match. That goal brought the game to its final score of 5-3.
Grand Haven looks to get back into the win column Thursday when the Bucs face another O-K Red opponent in Rockford.