NORTON SHORES – Apparently wind and rain and cold are no match for the Western Michigan Christian soccer team’s big scorers – or it’s goalie, for that matter.
The Warriors met up with Ravenna on Tuesday night on their home field in a Division 4 district semifinal game, and they not only had to battle the Bulldogs, but the absolutely miserable weather as well.
Gavin Riksen paid no mind, registering a three-goal hat trick, and Ashton Leffring chipped in two goals, leading the Warriors to a pretty impressive 6-0 victory.
WMC goalie Jared Olsen was also at the top of his game, stopping all six shots he faced to collect the shutout on the bone-chilling evening.
WMC will host Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian at 7 p.m. on Friday in the district championship game. NorthPointe earned its berth in the finals by beating North Muskegon in the earlier game on Tuesday.
“Sure the rain and wind didn’t help, but we played our game and played smart and it worked out,” Riksen said.
“The conditions weren’t ideal, but we made the plays that mattered and we’re moving on,” Leffring added.
Riksen got his hat trick out of the way early. He scored about three minutes into the game, added his second goal about four minutes later, then capped his assault with his third tally with 16:03 left in the first half.
Charlie Buursma and Leffring added goals before halftime and the Warriors led 5-0 at the break.
Leffring scored the only goal of the second half with 12:55 left on the clock.
“Our boys dealt with the conditions greatly and took advantage of the other team’s mistakes,” said WMC Coach Ben Buursma, whose team is now 11-8-2 after playing its typically tough schedule. “Ravenna is a very well-coached team, and hats off to them for a great season. Our boys just wanted it more and it showed out there tonight.”
The Warriors will face a real challenge from NorthPointe Christian, an 11-6-2 squad that beat WMC 2-0 earlier in the season.
“Our boys are up to the challenge,” Coach Buursma said. “That game was early in the season, we’re a different team and we’re out to show it.”
The Warriors outshot the Bulldogs 14-6.