Then things began to click.
Spring Lake exploded for six second-half goals on their way to a dominating 7-1 victory over the Eagles.
With the win, Spring Lake advances to Thursday’s regional title game against No. 3-ranked Hudsonville Unity Christian, a 3-0 winner over No. 2 Forest Hills Eastern in Tuesday’s second semifinal.
“We showed a lot of resiliency,” said Lakers’ coach Jeremy Thelen, whose team is now 21-0-1. “You come out, you start to warm up for the game, then have to sit in the locker room. Then you have to fight through the rain for the first several minutes. They were just very resilient.”
Resilient, and extremely talented.
The Lakers took a 2-1 lead 5 minutes into the second half when Riley Kammeraad scored his 40th goal of the season, knocking home a loose ball that GRC goalie Curtis VanWienen failed to clear because he had a Lakers’ forward — K.J. Sanchez — right in his face.
The score remained 2-1 until the 25:26 mark of the second half, when defender Nic Ellingboe came forward and headed in a corner kick from Austin Gabris.
Gabris then drilled home a shot off an Adam Clauss corner kick to make it 4-1 with 17:15 remaining. Gabris also had the Lakers’ first goal, which came on a header off a failed clearing attempt by the Eagles early in the first half.
“We just focused a little bit more, kept our intensity and took it to the next level,” said Gabris, who teamed up with Clauss and Kaleb Winter to help the Lakers control the middle of the field for most of the night.
“We knew we had the opportunities in the first half. We just didn’t capitalize. In the second half, we knew what we had to do. We didn’t want to go home yet. I don’t know if we were worried. We just knew we couldn’t give them opportunities and we had to take advantage of ours.”
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