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Lowell streaks to 7-0 with exciting soccer win over Grand Rapids Christian

With the Red Arrow boys soccer team trailing by a goal late in the second half against conference rival Grand Rapids Christian, senior Joe Sweet Lowell prayed that somehow, someway his Red Arrows would find a way to change the game’s complexion.

Leaving nothing to chance, in this case prayer, Sweet and his teammates started winning 50-50 balls. One became two and two became three and three became four.

“Winning ball after ball began to build us momentum,” Sweet explained.

It also set the ground work for a thrilling come-from-behind 5-3 O-K White win.

Return on their effort started with a Spencer Lyon game-tying goal off a throw-in.

Moments later, it was Alex Ligman holding his spot at the 18-yard mark and then drilling a redirect past Grand Rapids Christian goalie Connor Colburn to give Lowell a 4-3 advantage.

Jeremy Woderak removed all doubt with less than a minute to play when he found the corner of Eagle net on a penalty kick.

“Christian is a class organization with a great soccer reputation,” said Lowell soccer coach Rich O’Keefe “This was a big step for us. A big win in a great environment.”

The setting was all part of the Pink Arrow Project. The fun, entertaining soccer game coincided with the play of the fourth annual outdoor volleyball game (Lowell/Belding) at Red Arrow Stadium and Bob Perry Field.

“With the emotional survivor walk prior to the start f the game and then to finish in front of the large crowd made for a fun and exciting game,” O’Keefe said.

The large crowd was not lost on Eagle soccer coach Larry Klaasen.

” A number of years ago I advocated that we start playing games on Friday night prior to football and it got shot down,” Klaasen said. “I still think it’s a good idea.”

Christian’s quick start to the second half also falls under the coach’s definition of a good idea.

Trailing 2-1 at half, the Eagles scored the first two goals to start the final 40 minutes to take a 3-2 lead.

“We had the game in hand and didn’t close it out. To Lowell’s credit they didn’t quit. What was it? They scored three goals over the final five minutes,” Klaasen said.

Christian’s second and third goals were netted by Taylor Pruis and Silas Bakker.

The Red Arrows, trailing 1-0 after a first-half goal by Eagle Tony VanGessle, answered with two Matt Kyllonen goals to take a one goal lead.

“This was a huge game. After Rockford, this was the game we were waiting for,” Sweet said.

It may have been the game they were waiting for, but the result of games two through six were the same. The win against Christian ran Lowell’s season-opening win streak to seven (7-0).

“In my four years, every loss to Christian has been in double overtime,” Sweet said.

Both coaches believe this is the most balanced it’s been in years.

“It’s a five-team race. Everybody is pretty good,” Klaasen concluded.

Making this first Lowell win all the more important.