Eaton Rapids doubled their total goal output for the season in one game, scoring three times in overtime to defeat Waverly 4-1 in a CAAC Gold boys soccer matchup on Sept. 17.
Sophomore Michael Geiger notched a hat trick and junior Kyle Chapman scored a goal and assisted two others for the Greyhounds in a game that was much closer than the score would suggest.
Eaton Rapids head coach Matt Boersma said that teamwork was the key.
“All of the goals had assists attached to them,” Boersma said. “So we weren’t playing by ourselves, we were playing together. That’s something we have to do a better job of.”
Despite the result, Waverly head coach Matt Hill liked what he saw from his young team.
“I thought we played very well,” Hill said. “With all of the youth that we have, it’s starting to click. The older guys are bringing the younger guys into the system that we’re trying to play, and it showed for a half.”
Nick Orsborn scored the only goal for Waverly, poking home a free kick by Jacob Wilson with 1:15 left in the first half that gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead. That goal also turned what had been kind of an aimless game into what soccer fans would recognize as a relegation battle, an exciting, hard-fought contest between two struggling teams.
Chapman nearly tied it less than three minutes into the second half directly from a corner kick that sailed just past the upper corner of the far post. Eaton Rapids did most of the attacking after the break, and Waverly goalkeeper Nick Thiel kept the lead intact with two fine saves three minutes apart halfway through the second half.
The Greyhounds tied the game with 17:53 left in the second half, when Chapman was sent through the Warrior defense and in on goal. Thiel had no chance and Chapman made a calm finish to make the score 1-1.
Eaton Rapids, which had scored a total of four goals coming into the game, started attacking with confidence. Waverly had a hard time getting out of its own half, but defended well, and the league game went to overtime.
Michael Geiger gave the Greyhounds the lead halfway through the first 10-minute overtime period when he took a pass from Chapman, stepped through the Waverly defense and banked a right-footed shot off the inside of the far post.
That would be all Eaton Rapids would need, but with the Warriors desperately pressing forward for the equalizer, Geiger scored twice in the second overtime, assisted by Chapman and Chase Coss to make the final score 4-1.
“Lack of communication broke us down,” Hill said. “But it was a very good improvement from the season start.”
Boersma said that his team is a lot more fun to watch when they keep it simple, and do not try to emulate Barcelona and Manchester United.
“This is one of the most soccer-watching teams I’ve ever had, and they like to watch all the fancy stuff,” he said. “But the simple stuff is what gets you success, and I’m hoping that last 20 minutes marks a bit of a change for us.”