ELK RAPIDS — In the first half Traverse City Christian couldn’t score.
In the second half the Sabres couldn’t be stopped.
Christian scored all six of its goals in the final 40 minutes, cruising to a 6-0 victory over Cheboygan in a Division III district semifinal game at Elk Rapids High School.
After playing the Chiefs evenly for most of the first half, the Sabres turned up their level of play in the second half and left Cheboygan behind to punch their ticket to Friday’s district championship game.
“Really, we made no changes other than one other athlete who was ready to come in who was nursing an injury and he felt good. That was a nice little spark we got by Dennis (Alekseyenko),” said Christian head coach Ron Christie. “Other than that, I think everybody just calmed down and allowed the game to form itself versus playing frustrated, kick-and-run soccer. We were, of course, quite pleased with the second half.”
The Sabres (13-9) outshot the Chiefs 3-0 in the first half, but that turned into an 11-2 difference over the final 40 minutes. Christian scored its goals in a span of 27 minutes. Jacob Rorick, who had four goals in Monday’s district opener, added a hat trick to lead the Sabres. Cam Beemer chipped in with two scores and Ben Colburn also found the back of the net.
Beemer got the Sabres going with a goal in the sixth minute of the second half after receiving a perfect cross from Brad Benson that gave Beemer a 1-on-1 opportunity right in front of Cheboygan keeper Matthew Duffiney. That opened the floodgates as Rorick scored back-to-back goals in the 11th and 12th minutes of the second half — one on a shot into an open net after he beat Duffiney and the other coming after the ball bounced between Rorick and Beemer inside the box.
“It just started flowing,” Beemer said of the barrage of goals. “Once we started playing our game and one-touch it just started pouring on after that. It was nice. We just weren’t playing our game at all (in the first half). Coach said he didn’t even know who we were. We weren’t playing like ourselves at all.”
Another perfect cross by Benson set up Colburn’s goal in the 17th minute to put Christian ahead 4-0. Beemer added his second goal at the 25th minute on a quick turn and fire toward the net and Rorick completed the scoring in the 33rd minute when he broke ahead of the defense and blasted the ball into the net.
David Bump got the shutout in goal for the Sabres, who have outscored their postseason opponents 14-0.
“It means everything (to get the win),” said Beemer. “Our mentality has been one game (at a time). Once we get one more we focus on the next one. Just looking forward to Elk Rapids now.”
The contest with the Elks will be a rematch of last year’s district championship game won by the Elks, 2-0.