Lakers’ coach Jeremy Thelen said he was at Spring Lake High School and his team was beginning to arrive at the school to board the bus for Forest Hills Northern High School when he received word that the game was being postponed.
“Our thoughts obviously are with them and their program and their school,” Thelen said.
When he made is team aware of what had happened, Thelen said the conversation quickly turned to Robby Jerovsek, a Spring Lake student who died in a boating accident on Labor Day weekend, 2009. “They were kind of bummed because they wanted to play, but they completely understood,” Thelen said.
The game will instead be played tonight at 5 p.m. at Forest Hills Northern.
Spring Lake is ranked No. 1 in Division 2 with a 21-0-1 record, while Unity Christian is 22-2 on the season and ranked No. 3.
The winner advances to next Wednesday’s state semifinal contest at Plainwell.
BUCS’ GAME MOVED
The time and location for Saturday’s Division 1 soccer regional championship game between Grand Haven and East Kentwood have been changed.
The game, originally scheduled to be played at Holt High School at 5 p.m. Saturday, has been moved to Hope College’s VanAndel Soccer Stadium.
The game will begin at 4 p.m.
The winner of Saturday’s game advances to next Wednesday’s Division 1 semifinal contest at Holt.
LAKERS DRAW ON PLAYOFF EXPERIENCE
A majority of the starters on the Lakers’ varsity soccer team were starters a year ago, when Spring Lake advanced to the Division 2 state finals.
Thelen said the Lakers are drawing upon what they learned in that tournament run as they look to make another run deep into the state tournament.
“Being there before helps a ton,” Thelen said following his team’s regional semifinal win over Grand Rapids Christian on Tuesday. “They’re able to realize that this is not what we’re building toward. We’re hopefully building toward something beyond a regional championship. They realize there’s still work to be done, but still, they’re excited. There’s a lot of confidence, a lot of swagger.”
BUCS FOCUS ON THE PRESENT
Grand Haven was also in the state finals a year ago, and is just two wins away from a second finals appearance.
On their path to last year’s finals, the Buccaneers defeated O-K Red Conference rival East Kentwood in the regional tournament. The two powerhouse programs will meet again on Saturday.
Bucs’ junior Jon Buitenhuis said last year was last year and the current Bucs are focused on the task at hand.
“We try not to look back at last year,” Buitenhuis said after scoring the game-winning goal in Wednesday’s victory over Portage Central. “We’re trying to look at now, to focus on each game, and to play for our seniors. We’re just working hard.”
Junior midfielder Gerritt Schaap added that the Bucs may have taken their lumps at times during the regular season (including a pair of losses to East Kentwood), but they’re on a roll when it matters the most.
“This is the part of the season that really matters,” Schaap said.