2016-09-29 / Sports

Sweet revenge: North Bay beats Leland

Calderon’s second-half tally lifts North Bay to eighth straight win
By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff

NORTH BAY senior Eli Kramer sprints toward his teammates as time expires against Leland on Monday. Kramer had not beaten the Comets in his four seasons on varsity. Photo: Jay BushenNORTH BAY senior Eli Kramer sprints toward his teammates as time expires against Leland on Monday. Kramer had not beaten the Comets in his four seasons on varsity. Photo: Jay BushenEli Kramer ripped off his rain-soaked jersey, clenched his left fist and sprinted toward the North Bay bench.

The streak was over.

Kramer’s post-game celebration on Monday was unlike any the senior center back had experienced in his four years as a varsity starter. For the first time since the program was formed in 2014, North Bay beat Leland.

“Eli for four years has struggled with this team,” North Bay coach Tom Spencer said after the 1-0 win, his first against the Leland boys since coaching at Traverse City Christian. “The emotion that he and Oliver Creamer let out after the game is unparalleled in high school sports. I’m so happy for the guys.”

Kramer set up the lone goal in the second half, crossing a ball into Leland’s box from the right corner.

The ball careened off the foot of fellow senior Evan Busby, off a Leland player and onto the right foot of senior Jesus Calderon. Calderon calmly deposited his 11th and most important goal of the season at the 33:35 mark.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Calderon, a 5-foot-4 midfielder who ranks fourth among county goal scorers with 11 this fall. “We’ve been at it for awhile and haven’t been able to beat them.”

Leland (8-4-1, 4-1 NWC) handed North Bay (12-4, 5-1 NWC) a 4-1 loss when the teams last met on Sept. 7, but a rag-tag group of Northport, St. Mary and Suttons Bay players flipped the script on a rain-soaked pitch Monday.

Winners of eight straight, North Bay now has a chance to snap Leland’s streak of outright Northwest Conference championships at three.

“It sets the stage for a heck of a finish,” Spencer said after the match.

The turning point in Monday’s contest came late in the first half when officials tagged Leland’s leading scorer, senior forward Noah Fetterolf, with a red card. The Comets played one man short for the duration and struggled to generate quality scoring chances.

North Bay took advantage.

“We got a big break,” Spencer said. “Breaks happen, but we’ve never gotten a break in this series. It’s always gone against us and it went for us tonight. I don’t want to say I feel bad winning this way, but we deserved it. We played better soccer than they did.”

Austin Huck stopped all four Leland shots, shutting out a second consecutive Leelanau County opponent.

“Our guys took it hard, real hard,” said Leland coach Joe Burda. “It’s tough for them to see it as just a game because of the rivalry. We will see them again and it will be the same place, same atmosphere. They will be ready.”

Suttons Bay will host the district and regional tournaments in October.

Leelanau County’s trio of Northwest Conference teams hit the road for three league matches last night: Leland played at Kingsley, North Bay went to Benzie Central and Glen Lake traveled to Buckley. Results of those games were not available at press time.

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