Oostburg storms back from early goal deficit to end Tigers’ regional title streak

DERRICK GRIMM (2) of Howards Grove attempts to dribble past an Oostburg player in Thursday’s regional soccer finals. — Photo by Nate Dehne DERRICK GRIMM (2) of Howards Grove attempts to dribble past an Oostburg player in Thursday’s regional soccer finals. — Photo by Nate Dehne OOSTBURG – The Oostburg Flying Dutchmen outscored the Howards Grove Tigers 3-0 in the second half to break open a tight match as they triumphed, 5-1, in the Division 4 boys regional soccer finals here Thursday night.

Oostburg (17-7-1), a No. 2 seed, advances to the sectional semifinals Thursday against Central Lakeshore Conference rival and No. 1-seeded Sheboygan Christian/Lutheran at Christian at 4 p.m.

The No. 3-seeded Tigers, who were denied their fourth straight regional title, finished their season at 13-12. Howards split two CLC games against Oostburg during the regular season.

Howards grabbed a 1-0 lead only 4:13 into the match on a goal by junior midfielder forward Dakota Rabe.

Lukas Meerdink, tied the match at 1-1 with a goal in the 14th minute, assisted by

Matt DeMaster.

Meerdink,a junior defender midfielder, scored again in the 24th minute which gave Oostburg a 2-1 halftime lead.

The Tigers attacked the goal several times in the first half but were unable to cash in on scoring opportunities. Senior defender Andrew Gardner had a shot bounce off the crossbar.

The Dutchmen exploded for three goals within a 12-minute span in the second half to take a commanding 5-1 lead. Kyle Ebbers kicked a goal at the 50-minute mark, followed by goals from Michael Meke in the 55th minute and Jake Swihart in the 62nd.

Meerdink assisted on Ebbers’ goal and Swihart had the assist for Meke’s tally.

“We felt like we were in the game up until the third goal by Oostburg when things started to unfold a bit,” said Tiger head coach Todd Fischer.

“I was really proud of the boys though. They never gave up and right up to the end they were working hard to put the ball in the net.

“Overall we had a good season. We learned a lot and had a lot of fun,” Fischer said.

“One key was the play of our bench. They came in and gave us quality minutes without giving up the intensity,” said Oostburg head coach Steve Herzog.

“Our team defense was able to slow down Howards Grove’s attack which has a lot of dangerous speed and quickness.

“Again, the Howards Grove team played hard and showed great sportsmanship,” said Herzog.

The Dutchmen led 9-5 in shots on goal. Tiger goalkeeper C.J. Berg and Dutchman goalie Mike Duenk made four saves each.



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