GLEN LAKE — The first day of soccer districts nearly had a northern Michigan power get upset.
Two late goals from Glen Lake’s Henry Plumstead sent the Lakers to the district semifinals with a 2-1 win over Charlevoix Wednesday night in Glen Lake.
The Rayders, who were outscored by opponents 70-7 in the regular season and scored in only three games, managed to hold Glen Lake scoreless before halftime and score the first goal of the night. The bulk of Charlevoix’s goals came from a 5-0 win against a winless Kingsley team.
“I knew it would be a long shot, but I knew we had a shot,” Charlevoix coach Glen Walker said.
Wind was blowing heavily in Charlevoix’s favor, making it easy for the Rayders’ sophomore goalkeeper Brady Collins to punt the ball well past midfield. Both teams had plenty of chances early on, with the only solid look at a goal coming from Plumstead in the 18th minute of the first half.
The even score was a small victory for Walker and the Rayders. He said keeping it an even match at the half checked off the first of the team’s goals going into the night.
“Once we got past that first half 0-0, I said ‘let’s have a goal to keep it close,’” Walker said. “Someone’s going to make a mistake, something’s going to happen.”
With 27 minutes to go in the game, the Rayders drew a foul on Glen Lake goalkeeper Tucker Brown after he misplayed a rebound, touching the ball outside the goalie’s box. The ball was set feet away from the net, and the Rayders maintained possession of the ball inside the penalty box for the next five minutes.
Charlevoix got awarded a penalty kick after a Laker foul with 22 minutes to go in the game, and Walker chose sophomore Ryan Lopez for the chance to take a lead.
Lopez chose the middle and beat Brown for the first goal of the game.
Plumstead said after the game that penalty kick goal scared the Lakers.
“We tell the boys to control what you can control and don’t get too high or low either way,” Glen Lake coach Jared Boynton said. “I think for a minute, we might have gotten too low after that penalty kick.”
A rally cry from center back Parker McHugh to get the offense moving after the penalty kick resonated quickly with Plumstead. He took a shot ten minutes later and scored as the ball went into the left corner of the net, tying the game with 16 minutes to play.
Plumstead said after he scored the goal, he was hyped and wanted to get his team motivated.
“I felt like they were a bit quiet and they didn’t want it enough,” Plumstead said. “I was just trying to continue because the game wasn’t over.”
Glen Lake didn’t let the Rayders get another chance after the ball was put back in play, and Plumstead scored another goal off a pass from Cooper Bufalini to take a 2-1 lead with 11 minutes to go.
Boynton called Plumstead’s leadership toward the end of the game “priceless.” He said he wasn’t surprised at how Plumstead rallied the offense to save the Lakers season.
“I’m enjoying watching him the way he leads,” Boynton said. “It’s a lot by example, but he has also found his voice towards the end of the season and he’s become more vocal in practice.”
Glen Lake (14-4-1) will face North Bay (7-10-1) in the district semifinal. The Lakers shutout North Bay in both meetings this season.
Leland (11-4-2), the top seed in Glen Lake’s district, faces the winner of Thursday’s matchup with McBain Northern Michigan Christian (14-5) and Buckley (14-4).
“Leland’s got a tough path too,” Boynton said, asked about the potential rematch with the Comets in the finals. “We’ve both got a tough path laid out ahead of us.”
Kickoff for the district semifinals is Tuesday at Glen Lake. The time of the game is to be announced.