The Grand Rapids Community College Men’s Soccer team looked to stay undefeated throughout the season as they faced Aquinas College on Monday, Sept. 4.
For the first time all season, the Raiders seemed outmatched both offensively and defensively, which led to their first loss by a score of 4-0.
Given the size difference, GRCC head coach Damiekco Smith was pleased with the team’s performance.
“The most significant difference is the size,” Smith said. “There is a difference between a 17-year-old and a 22-year-old. We have a talented group of individuals, so I am satisfied with our talent… the better, more experienced team won.”
The Raiders started the game on the defensive side of the ball, something they are not used to. This led to the first goal the Raiders have given up all season, as junior striker Ricardo Rittersburger scored the first goal of the game for Aquinas. A few minutes later, Rittersburger scored off of a penalty kick to increase the lead to two goals.
GRCC struggled to maintain possession of the ball. Aquinas out-shot the Raiders 16-4 in the first half. Freshman goalkeeper Brett Miller had two saves in the first half, he needed to have a dominant second half if the Raiders had any chance of coming back.
“Getting scored on for the first time was a punch in the gut for us,” Smith said. “The second score, a penalty kick, really deflated the team. So, responding to adversity is the main thing we will need to work on.”
The Raiders played much stronger in the second half, making it more challenging for the Saints to score. Miller had three saves in the second half along with not giving up a goal. Freshman goalkeeper Daniel Beyer finished the last 22 minutes of the game, as he had two saves along with two goals given up.
In the end, the Raiders were defeated 4-0 as they could not keep up with the Saints’ offensive pace.
“Most of the team entered the game confident, thinking we would win, but I could see nonbelief on some of their faces,” Smith said. “If we all aren’t on the same page with the belief that we can upset a team on their level, then the game is over before it starts.”
GRCC allowed a team-high 28 shots on goal, along with six corner kicks. The Raiders combined for seven saves between the two goalies along with two shots on goal, one by freshman striker Elijah Maas and the other by freshman striker Mohamed Tamour, although both shots were saved.
With the loss, the Raiders moved to an overall record of 4-1 while maintaining a conference record of 3-0. No. 13 ranked GRCC looks to bounce back as they face Lake Michigan College on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at MacKay-Jaycees Park at 4 p.m.