The Grand Rapids Community College Men’s Soccer team headed into the second game of the season with momentum after the win against Jackson College, as they faced Terra State Community College on Aug. 26. The Raiders caught fire in the second half to lead to a 8-0 victory.
GRCC head coach Damiekco Smith believed the Raiders wore the Titans down throughout the first half and into the second half.
“We just wore the defense down which led to success on the offensive end,” Smith said. “The Titan defenders played well and the goalie had some incredible saves. I also have a great coaching staff, who complement each other.”
From the jump, the Raiders sensed scoring opportunities in the first few minutes, but were unable to capitalize. Freshman winger Jaret Jaramillo ended the early drought scoring off a free kick only nine minutes into the game.
GRCC continued the attack as they had numerous shots that were inches from the net. A reason the GRCC offense controlled the time of possession was because of the defensive efforts in the first half. Great communication along with excellent execution led the Raiders giving up only two shots on goal in the first half.
Freshman defender Ian Gunderson saw progress in communication and teamwork throughout the game.
“We played a very tight knit strong back line along with gaining a lot of trust among each other,” Gunderson said. “It has allowed us to maintain a very solid defensive unit and allow very few opportunities for opposing teams to get in behind and create chances.”
As the first half came to an end, the Raiders had many chances at increasing their lead which resulted in the score staying at 1-0.
However, the Raiders made a few adjustments to their subbing strategy in the second half and it seemed to spark a fire in the offensive attack.
Freshman striker Mohamed Tamour completely changed the momentum of the game by scoring back-to-back goals within two minutes of each other. The Raiders thrived off of Tamour’s goals as the Raiders scored three more goals before the 70-minute mark to go up 6-0.
“In the second half, the team started to connect more and we started to play our game calmly with confidence,” Tamour said. “The team played collectively well and that is what has made us succeed because we play for one another.”
GRCC continued its offensive reign as the freshman pair, winger Lucas Freriks and striker Hani Alturkmani, scored the final two goals as the Raiders handled the Titans 8-0.
Not only was coach Smith impressed with the offensive attack, he was exhilarated about the defense’s performance.
“Our defense is solid, I don’t allow them to possess much in the backfield which helps the flow and rhythm,” Smith said. “My style has been to possess the ball with a purpose. Our purpose is to attack their defense as much as possible and we put up over 40 shots so mission accomplished.”
The Raiders move to 2-0 overall and 2-0 in conference play this season. GRCC stays home to face Marion University-Ancilla on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at MacKay-Jaycees Park at 2 p.m.
“I always tell the team what one of my mentors told me: if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready,” Smith said. “We are playing with a lot of confidence and my coaching style is known to bring confidence because I’m confident. But I’m curious to see what happens when they are challenged and which players will step up because you can only fake confidence for so long.”