BY JONATHAN TURNER
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Two of the states top ranked teams in Division 2 opened up OKC White Division conference play on Tuesday night at Ranger Memorial Stadium and it proves to be as advertised.
Third-ranked Grand Rapids Christian pulled rank on top-ranked Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central and walked off the pitch with a 3-0 win.
The game started with both teams trading opportunities in both ends, but unable to find a shot to test either goalkeeper. In the 17th minute Grand Rapids Christian junior John Cassiday put a cornerkick into the box — and a foul led to a penalty shot. Cassiday converted the kick to give the Eagles (4-1-2, 1-0-0) a 1-0 advantage.
The Rangers continued to create chances after the goal by the Eagles and a combination play from Forest Hills Central brothers Alex Moeller and Andrew Moeller with a shot in the 27th minute that went just wide of the goal from 12 yards out. Another opportunity came just three minutes later when Forest Hills Central senior forward Chris Dongmo slotted a ball into the six for Alex Moeller, but that shot sailed over the crossbar.
The game would remain 1-0 until the 33rd minute when Grand Rapids Christian’s Jackson Mindling put a cross into the box and a defensive miscue from the Rangers led to a wide open Cassiday — whose one time finish to put the eagles up 2-0 just before the half time break.
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Coming out of the break both teams would pick up where they left off, creating opportunities on both ends. In the 54th minute, Mindling would dribble through two Rangers defenders and fire a shot from 14 yards out that FHC senior goalkeeper Lance Childers would push over the crossbar on a diving save. Three minutes later Eagles senior netminder Christian Dershem would save a point-blank shot from senior forward Kyle Webb, but the rebound would fall to Kyle Buchanan and his shot sailed over the goal.
Dershem came up big two minutes later when he made a diving save on a low shot off the foot of Andrew Moeller.
In the 68th minute the Eagles took advantage of a Rangers miscue in the back and Mindling finding sophomore forward David Pontarelli inside the 18 and slotted one past Childers to cap the scoring. Both teams would have free kicks in the final minutes hitting off the woodwork but neither side could convert. It is the first time Forest Hills Central (4-2-1, 0-1-0) has been held off the scoreboard this season.
With the loss Forest Hills Central will face Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern on Thursday night, while Grand Rapids Christian will travel to Byron Center High School on Thursday night.
WATCH EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS HERE
17th Minute #12 John Cassiday PK
33rd Minute #12 John Cassiday AS: #21 Jackson Mindling
68th Minute #9 David Pontarelli AS: #21 Jackson Mindling
SHOTS 7 3
TARGET 1 2
CORNERS 4 1
OFFSIDES 0 1
FOULS 7 5
SAVES 1 1
SHOTS 9 7
TARGET 6 3
CORNERS 6 1
OFFSIDES 0 1
FOULS 6 7
SAVES 4 6
SHOTS 16 10
TARGET 7 5
CORNERS 10 5
OFFSIDES 0 2
FOULS 9 12
SAVES 5 7