By Greg Gielczyk
CHARLEVOIX — For much of this season it’s been Eliot Boik who has been the leading goal scorer for the Grayling boys soccer team, and had the spotlight. But he took a back seat … if only slightly … Thursday night to teammate Jacob Schade, who outscored his teammate and nearly stole the show.
Schade, a close second to Boik in the team scoring statistics, drew the spotlight with his four-goal and one assist performance in a 9-1 trouncing of struggling Charlevoix in a Lake Michigan Conference clash in Charlevoix.
It was the second consecutive victory for the Vikings, who improved their record to 7-3-1 in the conference and 9-3-2 overall. The loss was the fifth in a row for the Rayders, who saw their record dip to 0-8 in the LMC and 1-12-1 overall.
“We played pretty well,” Grayling coach Andy Moore said. “We had a ton of shots on goal and played mostly in their defensive end the whole first half. I mean, it was tons of shots and tons of opportunities for us.
“I thought we distributed to each other really well. It was definitely an improvement over the Kalkaska game (a 6-0 win) Tuesday where we were just a little disconnected.
“Tonight, I felt we were really connected as a team, and it showed because we just dominated the game from start to finish. Other than the one chance that they scored on, it was a great game for us.”
Grayling built a 4-1 lead at the half as the offense really was rolling against the Rayders.
Moore moved Schade around to different positions throughout the game, and yet it did not adversely affect his play. He responded positively to all the juggling.
Boik continued his consistently steady play, scoring three goals and adding two assists. Andy Harrington, the quarterback of the team playing in the middle of the field, contributed three assists.
Tucker Mertes, who has been a solid defenseman for the Vikings all season, moved up to the midfield in the second half and responded by scoring two goals.
“It was just an all-around good team effort,” Moore said. “Tonight we had one of our defenders go down. Nothing serious, but he had to come out of the game, and I was able to comfortably move somebody into his position and not feel that we were falling off defensively.”
Kalkaska flustered the Vikings in the first half.
“Against Kalkaska we just struggled.” Moore said. “I think we were pressing too hard. We mercied them earlier in the year on their home field, so I think the first half we just grasped.
“They clogged the middle on us, and we didn’t adapt. We struggled with that. We made some adjustments at half, and got people moving around and we really put it to them in the second half.”
Boik and Schade each scored two goals against the Blue Blazers, while Harrington and freshman Ben Gardiner had one apiece.
Grayling is going to be busy next week, starting with a rematch against Elk Rapids on Monday night at home. The Elks shut the Vikings out, 4-0, earlier this season. Then they host Tawas on Tuesday, and travel to Harbor Springs on Thursday.
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