Local Boys Soccer Teams Prepare for Regionals
Eight local boys soccer teams will compete in their respective regional semifinal games Tuesday night.
Traverse City West is back in regionals as the Titans look to make a run toward their third straight state championship appearance. During their last two runs, they have faced Okemos both times. The two will meet again on Tuesday.
The Titans won this matchup, 4-0, last season and by one goal in 2019, but they know from experience that their opponents continue to get more challenging the deeper they get into the postseason.
“It’s a huge boost to the program to be on our way for the third year in a row, and we’ve got some traditions that we do once we make it this far,” T.C. West head coach Matt Griesinger said. “But you know, the regional tournament’s a different beast.”
“It’s a big game, but you kind of just got to play soccer,” T.C. West senior Josh Hirschenberger said. “Keep the hype around the game out of it and just focus on playing your game. And good things will happen if you if you play that way.”
The Titans’ game starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in East Kentwood.
In Division 2, Petoskey secured a district title with a 1-0 win over Bay City Western over the weekend. The Northmen still haven’t allowed a goal this postseason.
On Tuesday, they will face Forest Hills Central in the regional semifinals. This is the fifth time in six years that Petoskey has advanced this far, but they have only made it to the regional final once in 2017.
Their game on Tuesday will start at 7 p.m. in Cedar Springs.
Big Rapids and Ogemaw Heights will meet in the regional semifinals in Division 3. This is a rematch of the 2017 regional semifinal where the Cardinals won, 1-0.
Ogemaw Heights had an exciting win over Gladwin in a shootout to win the district title. The Falcons had lost to the Flying G’s two times in the regular season.
Big Rapids has had back-to-back games decided by one goal including their district final, and the Cardinals know that the Falcons will be a tough opponent this week.
“We saw Ogemaw last time we’re up in the regional,” Big Rapids head coach Justin Fox said. “So I’m sure from a program standpoint, they’re going to want to get back at us because we got the result then. So we’re going to just have to get back on the field and train and work on a few things.”
Their game starts at 6 p.m. in Clare, followed by the other regional semifinal featuring Elk Rapids and Tri County.
The Elks are looking to earn a trip to its third straight regional final appearance. They won the regional title last season before losing in the state semifinals.
Meanwhile, Tri-County hasn’t been this far in a while, as the Vikings secured their first district title since 2006.
Both teams reached this point of the postseason by winning their last games in shootouts.
In Division 4, McBain NMC will take on North Muskegon in the regional semis in Cadillac. Buckley will face Wyoming Potter’s House Christian following that game.
NMC will be taking on a North Muskegon team they last played in the 2019 postseason, where the Comets lost, 5-0 in the district final. NMC last made it to regionals in 2018.
Buckley hasn’t lost a game sine August and won both of its district games by one goal. The last time they competed in regionals, the Bears advanced to the state semifinals in 2017.
They will be challenged, as the Pumas are coming off a victory over 2020 state runner-up Grandville Calvin Christian.
The first game in Cadillac starts at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.