By JAMES COOK email@example.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — MUSKEGON — Leland may soon have a new item to pack on playoff trips.
Muskegon Catholic Central fans celebrated a 2-0 Division 4 regional semifinal win Tuesday in the same way Grand Rapids Covenant Christian did in last year's win that ended the Comets' season — by throwing a cloud of baby powder into the air as time expired.
"Maybe we need some talcum powder," Leland coach Joe Burda joked after the game as the powder smell still lingered in the cold air at Muskegon Christian's field. "They're in the same conference, so they probably got it from (Covenant Christian)."
The Crusaders scored once in each half to end Leland's season 19-4-1.
"We were competitive the whole 80 minutes," Burda said. "They connected a few more passes."
"Leland actually controlled the game in the second half," Muskegon CC coach Bill Moulatisious said. "They definitely had more possession and more chances. We were able to capitalize, though. And it made all the difference."
The Crusaders went up 1-0 on Drew Maki's goal with 3:58 left in the first half.
"It was a big boost," Moulatisious said. "It changed the momentum there. And there was a goal that was called off-sides in the second half, and I even think that helped bring some momentum to our side. We kind of had Leland on their heels a little as soon as that went down. Leland played a heck of a game and we matched them as well as we could."
Adam Callow made it 2-0 with a left-footed shot off an Erik VanFossen throw-in with 12:43 remaining.
Muskegon Catholic's goalie made 12 saves — including a huge, sliding one on Mike Osorio with 8:14 that would have put the Comets right back in the thick of things.
"Todd Hall made a couple of saves that changed the entire game," Moulatisious said. "I can't stress how big Todd is."
The two teams are familiar with each other, having played a preseason scrimmage against each other and the Crusaders winning an early-season meeting 1-0.
"Todd is a monster in between the pipes," Burda said. "It would have been really nice to get one of those. But that last one, he covered the last two or three yards on the far post. We thought we had one and that was going to swing some momentum, but he makes a big save like that and he keeps the momentum going.
"We had a lot of good chances. I think maybe the first 20 minutes of the game we were a little more dangerous than they were. We didn't finish. We didn't execute. But all the credit to Bill and his guys. They beat us. I don't think we had our best touch tonight, but they came here with a purpose — and they're still going to be playing with a purpose."
The Crusaders concentrated their defensive efforts on forward Henrik Ohr, who now won't have make a decision Friday on which sport to play. The dual-sport foreign-exchange student from Norway is also Glen Lake's kicker, and the Lakers have a matchup Friday.
"(Ohr) seems to be their facilitator," Moulatisious said. "I know he's the No. 1 player of their district. We tried to contain him as much as we could, but he's such a good player that he got a couple of looks."
Leland goalie Mike Farese made 10 saves.
"They probably won the middle," Burda said. "We weren't going to let them win the middle, but I think it was won in between the circles. These guys are moving on, and I think they deserve it."