For the Grand Haven boys soccer team, competing at home has often brought out the best in the Buccaneers.
Grand Haven played another inspired match on their home pitch Monday night, as they celebrated Senior Night with a 2-0 shutout win over O-K Red Conference rival West Ottawa.
The win keeps the Buccaneers undefeated at home for the season with only one more match on the schedule.
Photo Gallery: Bucs’ soccer tops West Ottawa
"We're coming off a great win over Forest Hills Central, and I think that carried over into tonight's game," said Grand Haven head coach Nick Tejchma. "We dominated that game over the weekend, and the guys wanted to make sure we kept our winning streak alive at home.
"West Ottawa is always a physical game. They are from the other side of town, so it's a bit of rivalry. These games always seem to be close, no matter what the teams' records are. That's how every game in our conference is though. We've played a lot of 2-1 style games and every match is a battle.
"I was just happy to get the win on Senior Night for these guys. Brenner (Kar) was excellent in net and recorded the shutout."
Grand Haven got on the board early in the match, when junior forward Jaden King knocked home a rebound shot off a kick from Trevor Kalis at the 22-minute mark to give the Bucs a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
The second half was a physical battle for possession, as West Ottawa attempted to apply pressure on the attack. Other than a shot off the crossbar with five minutes remaining, the Buccaneer defense stood tall.
With two minutes remaining in the match, Grand Haven answered on a counter attack, as Max Jerosvek netted a shot off an assist from Sam Scarpino to bring the game to its final tally.
"In the second half, we possessed more and cleaned up our passes a little bit and that turned into some quality scoring chances," added Tejchma. "In the first half, we were winning the 50-50 plays, but the passes out of those situations weren't as sharp as we wanted them to be. In the second half, we didn't win as many of those plays, but our second passes were much sharper. So, it's a little give-and-take, but that second pass is so important."
Grand Haven improves to 11-3-3 overall and 8-2-2 in league play. They will host Hudsonville in their regular season finale Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. The Buccaneers will then turn their attention to the postseason, as they'll host Mona Shores on Oct. 15 in the opening round of district play.
"It's a whole new season starting next week, so I'm glad to see us putting everything together as we get closer to the postseason," added Tejchma. "It's been kind of like putting a puzzle together. You think you have your lineup and rotation set early in the season, but then you get injuries and sickness and you have to move things around.
"Then, you have kids stepped up their game, so you have adjusted for that, too. It's been a good challenge though, and the coaches are pretty excited about where we are. We just need to be more consistent with our effort level. We need to make sure we are keeping the pressure on when we are playing with a lead."
On Saturday, Grand Haven defeated Forest Hills Central, 5-2. Mason Mahacek scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Buccaneer attack, while Jaden King added two goals and Joe Walsh netted one goal, as well.
Junior varsity: The Grand Haven junior varsity squad improved to 12-4-1 overall and 6-4-1 in the O-K Red Conference with a win over West Ottawa. The win also extends the club's win streak to seven games.