Maroons top Unity Christian 1-0 in regional semifinal

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GRAND RAPIDS — Holland Christian senior Chase Freriks and the rest of the Maroons boys soccer team each had the letter ‘T’ written on one hand Monday night.

Before their regional semifinal bout with Unity Christian, they talked about how toughness was going to decide the winner of the game. They wrote ‘T’ so they wouldn’t forget that.

Their memory proved to be extremely reliable.

Freriks scored a goal with 3:22 remaining in double overtime to give Holland Christian a 1-0 win over Unity Christian to advance to a South Christian regional final.

“We wanted to prove ourselves and beating the toughest involves fighting until the very end,” Freriks said. “I think we did a very good job of that.”

  

The Maroons (18-0-2) win avenges two ties with the Crusaders during the regular season — a 0-0 stalemate on Sept. 9 and a 1-1 game Oct. 2.

It was the first loss of the year for the Crusaders (14-1-6).

“I thought we played really, really great soccer in the second half,” Holland Christian coach Dave DeBoer said. “We were composed, we were able to get the ball out of pressure. I thought we created some nice opportunities even though we weren’t able to get a ton on frame.

“This team is tough. They’re gritty kids. We have some nice depth and I think that helps us in the final few minutes.”

The game-deciding goal was set up by Freriks and a teammate being in the right place at the right time. Freriks got in position and chipped the ball up and over the goalkeeper and into the net.

“One of our center mids, Logan VanKampen, played a ball through. It was fortunate to get past one of the defenders and it was me versus the keeper,” Freriks said. “I don’t remember thinking very much, I just kind of did it.

“When the ball went into the back of the net, it was breathtaking. I don’t know how to describe it. I’m happy that we got the ‘W.’”

While it was a moment of euphoria, the Maroons still had to finish the game.

“It’s one of those moments where you’re super excited and then you’re thinking, ‘Alright we have to adjust some things tactically and have to finish this overtime period out,” DeBoer said.

Crusaders coach Randy Heethuis was proud of the way his team fought and gave credit to the Maroons for making one extra play.

“They battled,” Heethuis said. “They left it out there on the field and we played a lot of minutes with those guys dead even over the course of the season. It was unfortunate for our kids, but give Holland Christian credit — they caught a break and made the most of it.

“You’ve got two very good teams. Both teams defend very well and it makes it very difficult to score. We knew it was going to be a battle and we guessed that one goal was probably going to win it today — it was just a matter of who was going to get it.”

The Maroons face the winner of the Grand Rapids South Christian and Dowagiac game Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The regional final will take place Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

 — Contact Assistant Sports Editor Beau Troutman at btroutman@hollandsentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @BVTroutman.

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