By Noli Brown
The Grand Rapids Community College men’s soccer team got a chance at revenge against Muskegon Community College on Oct. 18 after losing to them 0-1 on Oct. 14.
This turned out to be an intense battle, but the Raiders were able to pull it off together as a team and beat MCC 2-0.
GRCC started the match very upbeat and ready to get the win against MCC. A couple minutes into the start of the first half, GRCC freshman striker Yoisa Mukanda had a shot on goal off of a throw-in by GRCC freshman defender Xander Fredericksen that resulted in the first goal of the game.
The Raiders started this game differently compared to past games. Head Coach Damiekco Smith decided it was time to change things up after losing two games back to back.
“I sat my starters down to send a message because I felt like there was a big divide and the team wasn’t supporting each other,” Smith said. “To fix that divide I had the guys who normally don’t start, start the game, just so the starters know how it feels to be a cheerleader. They need to cheerlead and I think it was perfect, both (groups) scored the starters and the guys who normally don’t start so it turned out perfect.”
The Raiders’ defensive side only allowed three shots on goal throughout the first half which were all saved by freshman goalkeeper Daniel Beyer. They worked together as a team and communicated with each other which resulted in zero goals scored by the Jayhawks throughout the whole game.
Freshman goalkeeper Daniel Beyer protected the net today for the Raiders allowing no goals for the Jayhawks. Beyer is very proud of his team and thankful to his coaching staff.
“Today’s win against a good team was a big confidence boost for us. A lot of credit has to go to the coaching staff to find the adjustments that needed to be made and some tactical changes as well,” Beyer said. “I am very proud of the guys who came off the bench today with not many minutes throughout the season who were able to put away a goal in the opening minutes and set the tone for the rest of the game. The team had a lot of positive energy today which is extremely important after a loss.”
About halfway into the first half, Fredericksen scored the second goal of the game for the Raiders off of a foul kick by freshman striker Elijah Mass. This goal caused GRCC’s whole team including the bench players to jump up and down in celebration of Frederickson’s header goal.
Frederickson had a certain mindset coming into this game that allowed GRCC to walk away still undefeated on their home field.
“Coming into this game, I was more ready to prove to our own team that we can bounce back from the obstacles we faced in the last game, and adjust to fit their play style,” Frederickson said. “I was more fired up over the fact that we have yet to be defeated at our own field, and to protect that record, I wanted to go out there, give it my all, and come out with a win.”
Ending the first half of play, the Raiders were up 2-0 and had a total of 11 shots on goal, compared to the Jayhawks who only had three shots on goal and didn’t score on any of them.
Coming out for the second half of the game, GRCC was still playing with intensity and passion even though they were up 2-0.
It started to get real chippy and pushy between the teams and the refs, there were a total of five yellow cards given out during the game and three of those were given out in the second half, one of them being given to MCC’s coach for yelling at the ref.
Compared to the first quarter, the game speed was slower and much more up and down the field, compared to the first half when it was very fast paced and the ball was on GRCC’s offensive side most of the time.
The Raiders had a total of four shots on goal and the Jayhawks had a total of three shots on goal, neither team scored in the second half which resulted in the GRCC Raiders winning 2-0.
The Raiders maintain their undefeated record at their home field, now being second place in the conference with a 7-2-1 record. The No. 18 ranked Raiders take on Lakeland Community College at their home field, MacKay-Jaycees Park, on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m.
Smith is excited about their upcoming game against the Lakers with the new sense of team the Raiders have.
“We are going to do the same thing we did in this game. When we start regionals hopefully we take that in there and everybody’s ready. This was definitely done on purpose to ensure that everybody had their confidence, not just the people who normally start, I needed every person on this team to have their confidence.” Smith said.