By Greg Gielczyk
GRAYLING — Grayling goalkeeper Logan Cobb was the Grayling boys soccer team’s Most Valuable Player for the Vikings Monday night, as he made 19 saves and kept the Vikings in the game throughout.
But, the Vikings could not find the net for the second time this season, and wound up losing a hard fought 1-0 decision to the Elks. The Elks had defeated the Vikings, 4-0 in Elk Rapids earlier this season.
It was the fifth straight win for the Elks, who improved their record to 14-2-4 overall and remained undefeated in the Lake Michigan Conference at 8-0-1. Grayling fell to 9-4-2 overall and 7-4-1 in conference action for third place behind Elk Rapids and Boyne City (10-5-3, 6-0-3 LMC).
“Logan was very active in net,” Grayling coach Andy Moore said. “He just played probably the best game I’ve seen him play. Really held up his end when we needed him. “He came out a lot and cut off some chances that Elk Rapids might have had if he had stayed back in the net. Just an all-round good vision tonight out of Logan.”
Alec Gardiner played well at center defenseman in one of his best games as well, and freshman Mitch Harrington came up big for the Elks in his defensive role. Tucker Mertes also stepped up in the defensive end.
The Vikings had a couple chances, but the Elks controlled a lot of the game. But it wasn’t anything the Vikings weren’t expecting coming into the contest. They just couldn’t solve the puzzle.
Leading goal scorer Elliot Boik had a couple chances toward the end of the game that could have tied it or given Grayling the lead, but the Elks keeper made the saves.
“We just couldn’t sustain the pressure that we needed to tie the game,” Moore said. “We had some confidence coming in because we had, in our mind, played them tough in Elk Rapids earlier on in the year.”
“Other than giving up a late goal in the first half and a late goal in the second half, we played them pretty tough and felt pretty good about the game going in, and showed it.”
Anthony Harrington was all over the field with a couple blocked shots. Tucker Mertes made a couple hugh blocks so Logan wouldn’t have to make the save.
“Cobb was caught in a scramble and out of position on a shot, but Mertes came back on the ball to turn back the attempt and prevent the Elks from scoring.Elk Rapids scored its goal with two minutes left in the first half.
“We came in wanting to score a goal or two, so we were really hoping fora zerio-zero first half,” Moore said. “We just had a defensvie breakdown, and they scored.”I was really happy that our team responded very well to that goal, and kept on playing tough.”
Grayling hosts Tawas tonight in a non-conference contest.