MUSKEGON — Back to Muskegon it is.
Bellaire had hoped for a much shorter trip to Traverse City today for its Division 4 soccer regional final, but Muskegon Catholic Central's 2-0 semifinal win over Leland assured the Eagles of having to make their second three-hour trek Muskegon this week.
Likewise, Traverse City West will return to Midland for its Division 1 regional final.
Bellaire advanced to the regional final with a 5-2 victory over Big Rapids Crossroads.
"We expect pretty much the same game as (Tuesday)," Muskegon Catholic coach Bill Moulatisious said. "They look like a quality team. Hopefully, we can get out of there and see our old rivals Covenant Christian as well. We'll have a tough road up ahead of us, but we're up for the challenge."
Leland was able to play evenly with the Crusaders in Tuesday's regional semifinal, but Muskegon Catholic (15-7-1) was the only one to convert scoring opportunities into goals on the scoreboard. If the Comets and Eagles had both won, the regional final would have been played tonight in Traverse City.
"It's going to be a good game," Leland coach Joe Burda said of the Bellaire-Muskegon CC matchup. "I think they're even. I don't think Bellaire has seen a lot of competition as good as this team. I don't think five or six goals are going to be scored in this one. I didn't expect it in ours. I thought two goals would win it, which it did. I'd expect the same — 2-0 or 2-1 in the next round."
Eagles forward Denny Hall said the team was looking forward to a rematch with Leland, which routed Bellaire 9-1 in districts last year.
“It didn’t turn out that well for us,” Hall said. “But we were a younger team, and I think it’ll be a little different this year.”