Montague’s Alex Perez (right) battles with Shelby’s Eddie Uribe for position during Tuesday’s WMC soccer game at Montague. The Wildcats rolled to a 6-2 win to even their league record.
Montague used a quick start Tuesday afternoon to forge an early lead, then rolled to a 6-2 win over Shelby in West Michigan Conference play.
The Wildcats evened their conference record at 3-3 with the win heading into Monday’s conference finale at Mason County Central.
Montague got two goals and an assist from Luke VanBoxel to lead the way. Eric Groppi, Kyle Linne, Kurt Johnsen and Hunter Stein also each notched goals for Montague. Groppi also had an assist. Kaleb Cordle had six saves in net for the Wildcats. Eddie Uribe and Mitch Darling countered with goals for the Tigers, but Montague was too much for Shelby.
The win helped Montague bounce back from a rough game Monday against Muskegon Catholic Central. The Wildcats fell in the nonconference contest by a 3-1 margin. VanBoxel had Montague’s lone goal in the game on a penalty kick. Kaleb Cordle had 12 saves in goal, but the Wildcats were unable to muster enough offense to get the victory.
Montague concluded its week with a tie Thursday in a nonconference game at Providence Christian. The Wildcats scored twice in the first half as Groppi and VanBoxel each assisted one another on goals, but the Storm came back with two second-half goals to earn the tie. The Wildcats outshot Providence Christian 19-3, but couldn’t put away a third goal to get the win. It was a bit of a homecoming for VanBoxel, who transferred to Montague from Providence Christian.
The Wildcats conclude their regular season Monday with a home game against Mason County Central. The league soccer tournament begins Wednesday.
Whitehall still unbeaten in WMC
The Whitehall Vikings stumbled Saturday at Western Michigan Christian, falling 3-2 in a penalty shootout. Ray Copley and Nick Rands scored goals for Whitehall in the loss, Whitehall’s third of the year. The Vikings never led in the contest, but scored two game-tying goals, one of them during extra time, to force the penalty shootout.
“We did not play a great possession game, but we fought hard,” Whitehall coach Bryan Mahan said. “We kept the pressure on them the whole game. I would have liked to see us get in a better offensive groove, but we will learn.”
Whitehall bounced back Tuesday, recording another mercy-rule victory over Mason County Central in conference play. Copley scored twice for the Vikings in the win, as did Andrew Jennings. Kalup Bentz, Nick Rands, Luke Westrate and Matt Rohen each recorded a goal for the Vikings, who are now 6-0 in the league.
“With two goals in the first five minutes, we got them on their heels, and kept the pressure on,” Mahan said.
Whitehall will face Hart Monday in a de facto conference championship game. Both teams are 6-0 in the league, and both teams have for the most part dominated their competition. The Vikings will be faced with trying to stop one of the most prolific scorers in area history in Marcos Moul. Moul recorded his 100th career goal earlier this season and has tallied two six-goal games since.
“They have a strong scorer that we must contend with,” Mahan said. “Our offense needs to play our regular game and it will give us a good chance. It is always fun having a couple of undefeated teams meet before the tourney.”
R-P win streak stops at 5
The Reeths-Puffer Rockets fell Tuesday evening to Mona Shores, 4-1, stopping the R-P winning streak at five. Both teams entered the game unbeaten in O-K Black Conference play.
The Rockets trailed 1-0 at the break but tied it up on a Bradley Macomber penalty shot 15 minutes into the second half. The Sailors responded with three goals in the next 20 minutes to put away Reeths-Puffer.
“In the first half, Shores controlled most of the ball movement, attacking the outside midfield and defense,” Reeths-Puffer coach Keith Knapp said.
Reeths-Puffer fell into second place in the O-K Black conference with the loss.
The Rockets bounced back from that loss with a 4-1 road win over Muskegon Thursday night. Reeths-Puffer ripped off three goals in the final 25 minutes of the half to take control of the game before an evenly played second half helped the team to a win. Overall, the Rockets outshot Muskegon 12-5.
Tyler Brown, Drake Yarian and Austin Blaski notched first-half goals for the Rockets, and Bradley Macomber put in the final goal of the game to provide extra cushion for the Rockets. Macomber and Blaski each had one assist, both helping the other score their goal.
“The host Big Reds are a much improved team,” Knapp said.
The Rockets will play three games this week, kicking off with a Monday road trip to Fruitport.