MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP – The Western Michigan Christian girls soccer team is off to a so-so start this season, with a 4-4-2 record after 10 games while playing a tough schedule.
But when it comes to conference play, the Warriors are nearly perfect, and are very much in the running for the final championship in the Lakes 8 conference, which will dissolve after the current school year.
WMC kept itself in the title chase with an impressive 3-1 victory over Orchard View on the Cardinals’ home field on Wednesday night.
The win left the Warriors with a 3-0-1 mark in the conference standings.
“It’s always big when you can win away at someone else’s pitch,” said WMC Coach Deb Pekel. “We knew this was a really important game. We had to tell the girls it was a big game, but to still go out there and have fun.”
The Warriors grabbed the upper hand early when senior Sydney Betten found the back of the net just under four minutes into the game.
WMC continued to pepper the OV goalie with shots throughout the first half, and sophomore Brooklyn Watts scored before halftime to give the Warriors a 2-0 lead at the break.
“It’s really important (to score early),” Betten said. “If you keep waiting and fumble around with the ball, your opportunities kind of go away.”
Orchard View had its chances to score in the first half, but WMC goalie Libby Mast made a couple of big saves, including a diving stop with about 18 minutes left, to keep the Cardinals off the scoreboard at halftime.
Mast finished with eight saves on the night.
“Libby’s been great for us,” Pekel said. “It’s great to have a keeper of her standard and a senior leader as well.”
The Warriors kept the offensive pressure on in the second half, and we were rewarded about 10 minutes into the game when junior Ally Oppenhuizen took a pass from Watts and booted it into the OV goal.
Orchard View’s Kylee Carmean broke the shutout with a goal with about nine minutes left in the contest.
Cardinal goalie Elizabeth Estelle had a good performance in the loss, stopping 13 shots.
Orchard View fell to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in Lakes 8 play.