HOLLAND — The Western Michigan Christian boys soccer team is no stranger to postseason success, with several state championships and deep tournament runs in recent years.

This year’s team has aspirations of a deep run, as well, and took another step in that direction on Tuesday with a 3-0 victory over previously unbeaten Howardsville Christian in a Division 4 regional semifinal at Holland Christian High School.

“This group, their mentality is so strong and they’re hungry for it,” WMC head coach Ben Buursma said. “They felt what it was like to lose in penalty kicks in the districts last year to the eventual state champion. They know they were almost there last year, and they really want to get it this year.”

Tekalegn Vlasma pursues the ball for WMC during the first half against Howardsville Christian. Photo/Mitchell Boatman

The Warriors took the lead around 11 minutes into the game and were able to stay in control the rest of the way.

“That’s always big, especially in a tournament,” Buursma said of grabbing an early lead. “The danger is always going down early and then having the other team being able to pack in defensively. It was very good to get that opening goal.”

WMC, now 13-8-2 on the season, advances to Saturday’s regional final, which is also a state quarterfinal, against Hartford (20-2). The game will be played at 10 a.m. at Holland Christian.

The Warriors started the scoring 11 minutes into the game on a header by Jake Hwang. Just over 5 minutes later, Matthew Bradford-Royle scored the second WMC goal to make it 2-0.

Ashton Leffring dribbles down the field for WMC. Photo/Mitchell Boatman

Bradford-Royle took a pass from Ashton Leffring on a breakaway and outraced the defense down the field before finding the back of the net.

“It was a good boost for us,” Bradford-Royle said of getting to a two-goal lead. “Ashton chipped it over the back line and I paced past their center back. I shot with my left, so just hoping for the best on that one. It was great.”

Buursma said his team made some adjustments and played better after halftime. The Warriors had several scoring chances throughout the half, including a pair of shots that went off the goal post, but were scoreless most of the half.

Western Michigan Christian keeper Jared Olsen prepares to kick the ball downfield. Photo/Mitchell Boatman

WMC’s Charlie Buursma scored the lone second half goal with 1:37 to play, bringing the game to a 3-0 final.

While the Warriors were victorious, they may have lost a starter to injury going forward. Sophomore Tekalegn Vlasma went down with a knee injury late in the first half and was unable to return.

“It’s a huge loss, he’s a very effective player for us on the wing,” Buursma said. “To lose somebody of his caliber is going to be very hard for us to replace.”