A gutsy second half performance by the boys varsity soccer team ends in heartbreak with a 3-2 loss in penalty kicks to Petoskey


At about the halfway point in the first half, junior Omar Hadzimujic came up the field; the attack was on for the Rangers. In a quick turn of events, a Petoskey defender got a handball call and Omar was ready to take the penalty kick. He netted it in to take an early 1-0 lead for the boys. In the end, the boys varsity soccer team lost in the regional semifinals 3-2 via penalty kicks to the Petoskey Northmen, ending a cinderella story of a postseason.

“It was a gutsy performance by the boys,” head coach Paul Kramer said. “The back and forth battle between both teams was amazing.”

With a crucial district championship already under wraps, the boys looked to move on to the regional finals with a win over Petoskey—one of the better teams in Division 2.

The first half was a shootout for both teams, with the first 20 minutes of the half being a back-and- forth battle between both defensive fronts. Yet again, senior captains Ryan Fitzgerald and Jayden Savin led the way on defense by getting rid of a lot of great chances for the Northmen. After Omar’s penalty kick goal though, Petoskey answered back quickly. The Northmen scored two goals right before halftime in a series of mistakes by FHC, and the Rangers found themselves down 2-1 when the halftime whistle blew.

At halftime, the message was clear from coach Kramer. He told the boys how resilient they have become since the beginning of the postseason, and how they had enough fight in them to take the momentum of the biggest game of their life back. And that’s just what the Rangers did.

The boys put on the pressure on the Northmen and took possession of the ball for most of the second half. Eventually, the time of possession would pay off when junior Kyle Webb came up the left-wing and drove across the top of the box, and placed a shot into the goal by the far post. He snuck it past the Petoskey goalkeeper and tied up the game at 2 apiece for both teams. Normal regulation wasn’t enough to decide this one though and both teams regrouped for overtime.

In overtime, the Rangers had all the momentum. The ball control, movement on offense, and sound defense were all key factors that played out in the overtime period. With all the bright spots, however, the boys could not find the goal. The Rangers came up inches away from the game-winning goal but couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities they had. With overtime now over, the crucial phase of penalty kicks settled in. The Rangers gave it their all, but eventually lost in penalty kicks 3-2, ending their miraculous postseason run.

“I could not be more proud of what the boys have accomplished this season,” coach Kramer said. “They never gave up and were always finding ways to learn and always put up a fight in any situation.”

The boys varsity soccer team ended its regular season with a record of 10-10-1 and broke a streak of six years without a district championship this season.