Allegan boys’ soccer coach Roberto Gonzalez (back, far right) and his players celebrate the program’s first district championship. (Photo provided)

Tigers beat Hopkins in shootout to secure first district title in program history

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

The third time is supposed to be the charm.
For the Allegan boys’ soccer program however, it was the 28th time that was the charm.
After failing to win a district championship—or even reach a district final—in their first 27 years of existence as a varsity sport, the Tigers were able to finally hoist the district trophy on Saturday, Oct. 24.
Not that it was easy.
Allegan went through regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods locked in the 1-1 tie with Hopkins. The teams were then deadlocked on penalty kicks at 3-3 through the initial round of five shooters, sending the shootout to sudden death.
It was on the first of these do-or-die rounds that the Tigers secured the win, as Thomas Loftus made his penalty kick and Allegan keeper Zach Bunn made the save on Hopkins’ attempt. That gave Allegan the 2-1 victory and a Division 3 district championship that came with it.
“We’ve been working very hard to improve the program, so winning this championship is very special because it allows us to see we’re making good progress,” Allegan coach Roberto Gonzalez said. “I’m just so proud of my boys for accomplishing a goal this program has been waiting 28 years for.”
Allegan scored its goal in the first half, as Dawit Osbourne beat Hopkins keeper Connor Kukulies following a shot that had hit the post.
Despite the 1-0 halftime deficit, Hopkins coach Wade Schuemann felt good about his team’s chances.
“Their goal was probably the highest quality goal we had against us all year and Connor almost got there,” Schuemann said. “Before their goal, we had three or four really good looks on goal that we didn’t convert.
“So going in to half down 1-0 on that high quality goal, the boys were encouraged and really came out hungry in the second half.”
That hunger showed as the Vikings knotted the score on a goal by Jesse Oosterhouse after a free kick.
And that’s where the score would stay at the end of regulation as neither team scored the rest of the way, sending the game to overtime.
“Our boys continue to fight off wave after wave of Allegan attacks while still getting a couple looks on the counter throughout the overtime,” Schuemann said. “The final 30 seconds of overtime featured chances at both ends.”
 

For full story, pick up a copy of the October 29 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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