Vikings fall to Ramblers 2-1 after overtime, PK shootout
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Snow. Wind. One-hundred minutes of soccer. A penalty kick shootout. For one team, the season would continue, and for the other, it would not.
Grayling High School’s varsity boys soccer team, during the 2018 regular season, won 11 games and lost four. The Vikings lost twice to Elk Rapids and twice to Boyne City. On Monday night, in the Michigan High School Athletic Association playoffs, Grayling battled the Boyne City Ramblers for a third time this year. The contest – a round one District 48-3 game – was played at Boyne Mountain.
Neither squad was able to score during the first half. The first 40 minutes of regulation featured steady wind and scattered snow flurries.
Approximately seven minutes into the second half, Boyne City scored the first goal of the contest. Twenty minutes later, Grayling tied the game at 1-1 with a goal by Mason Manning. Manning kicked the ball into the net after the Boyne City goalkeeper deflected a Grayling shot attempt on a corner kick play.
Neither team scored in the final 13 minutes of regulation. With the score tied at 1-1, the game headed into overtime (two 10-minute periods).
The first overtime session was scoreless. The teams did not score in the second overtime period, leaving the score locked at 1-1. The game would have to be decided by a penalty kick shootout.
Boyne City shot first. The Ramblers converted on their first (of five) attempts to lead 1-0 in the shootout. Grayling missed its first attempt.
Boyne City missed its second kick. For Grayling, Eliot Boik was second, and he scored, kicking the ball into the net on a low shot to the left side.
After two rounds of the shootout, it was tied at 1-1.
The Ramblers started round three with a low line drive into the right side of the net. Boyne City’s goalkeeper stopped Grayling’s round three shot attempt. The Ramblers led 2-1 in the shootout.
Boyne City missed to start round four. The goalie for the Ramblers stopped Grayling’s next shot. It was still 2-1 in favor of Boyne City for the shootout.
The fifth Rambler shooter hit a line drive kick into the upper right corner of the net, clinching a victory for Boyne City. The Vikings had one more shooter, but trailing 3-1 in the penalty kicks, they could not catch up.
“I thought we played them hard. Our guys just pressed hard on them,” Coach Brad Wagner said. “It was hard to lose that way, that’s for sure, knowing you played at that level for 100 minutes.”
With Monday’s win, Boyne City advanced to the District 48-3 semifinals, and for Grayling, it was the end of a season that featured 11 wins and five losses.
Coach Wagner said the squad exceeded his win total expectations for the year.
“Going into the season I thought we were a .500 team, and we only lost to two teams,” Coach Wagner said.
District 48-3 had three other round one games on Monday night. On the Grayling/Boyne City side of the bracket, Benzie Central won 5-4 vs. Traverse City Christian in a contest that was also decided by a shootout, according to the MHSAA. On the other side of the bracket, Elk Rapids defeated Kingsley 6-0 and Kalkaska won 3-2 vs. Cheboygan.
In the semifinals on Wednesday, Elk Rapids hosted both games. Benzie Central won 3-2 vs. Boyne City in a contest decided by a shootout, according to the MHSAA, and Elk Rapids defeated Kalkaska 4-0.
The final score of the District 48-3 championship game – played on Friday at Elk Rapids – was Elk Rapids 7, Benzie Central 0.
Elk Rapids advances to the Region 12-3 tournament hosted by Clare.