District soccer preview


Drew Pedersen

On a wet and muddy night, where winds were blowing and the rain would not let up, the Panthers took on a tough Hudsonville squad. It was the second half and a ball was placed across the middle for Soph. Raekwon Cunningham who ripped a shot at the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper slowed the ball down as it continued its forward path towards the goal.  Then from the left, Sr. Jamesohn Bader came sliding across the box to tap the ball in for a goal. The Panthers will need more key plays like this to win their first district matchup Tuesday.

   The West Ottawa Boys Varsity soccer team has not had the most successful season so far. Heading into districts with a record of 4-14-1, most people believe that the Panthers do not have a chance against a impressive Jenison team this Tuesday. Although the Panthers record may not be too enticing, their conference (OK Red) is much more challenging than Jenison’s opponents in the OK Black. The Panthers have played against top teams in the state this season and have held their own. Against Portage Northern, the number one team in the state, the Panthers ended up losing 2-1. Many people also said that the Panthers played tough and had a chance to win the game, but struggled to finish on the offensive end. The Panthers also played against Rockford, an OK Red conference team, who is ranked third in the state and beat the Panthers 2-0 and 3-0. Although the score did not seem close the Panthers played exceptionally well, they just struggled to score.

  The Panthers are a tactical team who relies on playing to feet and moving through the ball through the midfield. The Panthers’ midfield is their strongest part of the field. Despite the scores, the Panthers tend to dominate the midfield and possession. The major weak point the Panthers have is their ability to score. Similar to last season, the Panthers struggled to get many shots on goal. Since the defense allows an average of 1-2 goals per game, the Panthers need to find a scoring presence. Despite the weaknesses the Panthers do have a chance to win this matchup. The Panthers are physical and tactical, and if they can control possession and get shots on goal, the Panthers could come out with a victory.

  On the other hand, The Jenison Wildcats have played strong this season. Their strength is their defense since they allow no more than two goals a game, however unlike the Panthers, the Wildcats can score efficiently. Scoring four and five goals in a game is very impressive and is the large discrepancy between the Panthers and Wildcats. Especially after the Panthers lost a muddy game Wednesday against Hudsonville 5-2, the advantage should be given to the Wildcats. When Jenison played Hudsonville they beat the Eagles 3-0. However, one of the Wildcats best players has been out with an injury and has been cleared to play, but it is likely he will not play to his full potential. This game should be a physical and low scoring game but the Wildcats are the favorites for this exciting district game.

  Come out and watch the game this Tuesday at 6:00 at West Ottawa to find out who will move on  and who will go home.