Soccer team pulls away in 2nd half to win 8-0 vs. Benzie Central
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Grayling High School’s varsity boys soccer team pulled away in the second half of Monday night’s home game vs. the Huskies of Benzie Central – the season opener for the Vikings – and Grayling won the match by a final score of 8-0.
The Vikings led 1-0 early after scoring on a penalty kick by Anthony Harrington.
Later, with approximately 18 minutes left in the first 40-minute half, Grayling scored on a header by Harrington from a corner kick by Pali Feri.
At halftime, the Vikings led 2-0.
Approximately 18 minutes into the second half, Grayling scored its third goal with a header by Leo Gomes on a direct kick by Mason Manning. Two minutes later, Manning scored for the Vikings, giving Grayling a 4-0 advantage.
Seven minutes later, Erid Feri scored for the Vikings on a penalty kick. With about 10 minutes left in the second half, Garrett Reilly scored on a pass from Ben Whitaker. A couple of minutes later, Reilly scored again on an assist from Whitaker. Grayling ended the game with a goal by Reilly.
“It was a good start,” Coach Brad Wagner said.
Coach Wagner said he was expecting a closer game due to a surge by Benzie Central after the halftime intermission. The Huskies were able to generate a few quality scoring opportunities early in the second half.
“I thought Benzie put some pressure on us to start the second half. They had a couple of dangerous players,” Coach Wagner said.
After 18 scoreless minutes in the second half, the Vikings scored six goals to put the game out of reach, getting eight total goals from five different scorers.
“When you have a diverse attack you become harder to defend,” Coach Wagner said. “Anthony’s header was brilliant. Leo, that was a great service from Mason.”
Coach Wagner said the key to the win was “controlling the midfield,” which was one of the goals for the squad going into the game and going into the 2019 season.
“That was one of our objectives, to control the midfield. I thought our kids did a really good job of that,” Coach Wagner said.
Coach Wagner said the defense and goalkeeper also played well, preserving a shutout vs. the Huskies.
“The defensive back line was outstanding. Alec Gardiner has stepped into the center back role. They cover each other. They maintain balance. We did a really good job of balancing our shape when kids stepped up,” Coach Wagner said.
Coach Wagner said freshman goalkeeper Logan Cobb “came out on a couple plays that were really big. He’s starting to communicate more, gaining confidence.”
The Vikings will play at Boyne City at 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 29. The soccer team will host Traverse City Christian at 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 5.