BY CHRIS DOBROWOLSKI firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — ELK RAPIDS — Everybody wanted a piece of David Bump on Friday night.
Between pictures, hugs and congratulations from teammates, family and friends, Bump seemed to be the most popular person among the throng assembled at the middle of the Elk Rapids soccer field.
It wasn’t unwarranted attention either, considering Bump was in goal for his third shutout of the postseason, this one a 1-0 victory over Elk Rapids that allowed the Sabres to capture a Division III district championship.
With the help of a defense that included Michael Klettner, Daniel Weber, Kevin Mannes and Dennis Alekseyenko, Bump stopped all nine of Elk Rapids’ shots on goal. That included five shots during a tense second half where the Elks controlled the ball for most of the half and had several major opportunities to score.
“The defense really, really stepped it up in prior games,” said Christian coach Ron Christie. “We did a nice job in the first half, but Elk Rapids really controlled the second half as far as time of possession. They probably had that ball 60-70 percent or more.”
Jacob Rorick scored the only goal of the night in the 27th minute of the game, getting a ricochet off the post and putting it past Elk Rapids keeper Jackson Waugh, who made six saves. Elk Rapids did appear to score early in the second half, but Eliot Huggins was ruled offsides before he buried a shot into the back of the net.
Rorick’s goal was his eighth of the postseason, but it was Christian’s ability to hold Elk Rapids out of the net that highlighted the win.
“They’ve got strong guys,” said Elk Rapids coach Nate Plum. “The two in the middle are very strong in there when you’re trying to push that ball through. They seem to get to a lot of those balls and that’s a credit to them. Their keeper, he’s come a long way. He was rocky his first couple of years, but he just keeps improving and improving and you can’t take anything away from him. He had a solid game, as did our keeper. We had one mistake and it cost us. That’s the game of soccer. That’s why you play it and that’s why you love it and you never know what’s going to happen.”
The key plays Bump made included a leaping, diving, mid-air snag of a first-half shot and another that he tipped up just enough to send over the crossbar. He also made a kick save of a Marty Raymond 1-on-1 opportunity in the second half. But the biggest defensive save didn’t come from Bump. Midway through the second half Klettner stepped into the net during a flurry of activity that pulled Bump from the goal and booted the ball out to keep Elk Rapids off the scoreboard.
“They kind of had the momentum so I felt like if I kicked it out it would give us the momentum back,” said Klettner. “It came there and my foot just connected at the right time. I’m just really excited that we won the game. That was a key point and I’m just really happy that my teammates helped me out because that was a key game.
“I noticed it went off (Bump’s) hand so I had to go back and try to play goalie for him, which is not my usual position.”
Bump called it the play of the game.
“My defense has my back,” he said. “That’s what it’s going to be all throughout the rest of this season. I was really worried, but my defenders they’ve got my back. That’s what I’m thankful for.”
The victory was redemption for Christian, after Elk Rapids eliminated the Sabres in last year’s district final, 2-0.
“Coming back here and playing a team of that quality and walking away with a victory is very, very nice because it is a quality program,” Christie said.