“We left them (Coopersville) in the game a long time,” said Spring Lake coach Jeremy Thelen. “We just played slow, we are good, but we just need that passion a little bit more.”
It took the Lakers (13-1-2) nearly the entire first half to net a goal on the Broncos (1-5-0). With three minutes remaining they converted on a corner kick header. Matt Gagnon sent the ball center field where Dylan Constantine found it with his noggin, sneaking it past a drawn out Coopersville keeper.
The half ended with the score standing at 1-0.
Coach Thelen was visibly frustrated with his team’s lack of passion.
The second half opened with an aggressive Coopersville offense, which controlled possession for much of the half. The Laker defense held strong, however, denying them a score.
Just over 20 minutes had passed in the second half before Spring Lake secured their win. Baruch Kamps capitalized on a rebounded shot in traffic for the game clinching score.
The win sets Spring Lake on a trajectory to win the O-K Blue in their first year as a member. The Lakers won the Lakes Eight conference in 2013, 2014 and 2015 before being moved.
“We want to obviously win out, that would be nice to be the (O-K Blue) winner on the first go around,” Thelen said. “We want to make sure we keep the peddle to the metal, take care of business early and score early.”
After the conference championship the Lakers have their sights set on districts, which they have won the past two seasons, but the road won’t be easy.
“We have a tough draw in districts. If we go one day at a time, and string them all together, play with that passion we will compete for a district championship, hopefully. We do have two tough games early,” added Thelen.
Beyond that things get murky.
“We will see what happens in the regional. We are in the toughest region in the state. We have to get there first then we will start worrying about other things,” said Thelen.
The Lakers return to the pitch on Tuesday with their second to last O-K Blue matchup against Grand Rapids West Catholic, then finish up their season with one final conference test against Comstock Park on Oct. 13.
GH girls swim rolled by Rockford
The Grand Haven girls swim team traveled to Rockford for a dual meet with the conference favorite Rams. The Buccaneers took wins in two events and lost the meet 176-120.
It was a long day for the Bucs, after finishing third in the 200-yard medley relay the girls were on need of a moral booster. Kathryn Ackerman hit the pool for the 200-yard freestyle and did the honors, winning the event in a blazing 1 minute, 52.23 seconds, setting the Rockford pool record in the process.
Apart from Ackerman, the Bucs could not manage a top three finish between the lane lines. On the boards Morgan Lauren cracked the top three in 1-meter diving with a season high score of 186.25.
Ackerman returned to the water for the 100-yard freestyle, winning the event by nearly three seconds. She clocked a 53.25.
Grand Haven finished second in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:50.53.
The girls return home for a showdown with Hudsonville on Thursday, Oct. 13 for their first annual Bucs Pride swim meet.
SL volleyball drops match with Whitehall
The Spring Lake volleyball team lost to Whitehall Thursday night in four sets; 17-25, 23-25, 25-16 and 21-25. Their record dropped to 9-14 overall and 4-4 in conference.
Lauren Hellmen led the team with three aces and five blocks. Isabel Donnelly struck 12 kills and Caitie Estep reprised her role as lead helper with 40 assists. Olivia Grimmer led the team with 14 digs.
The varsity team returns to the court to take on Sparta on Tuesday.
Junior varsity: The JV squad came out victorious at Whitehall in three games; 17-25, 25-10 and 15-9. They stretch their overall record to 23-2 and remain unbeaten in conference.
Freshmen: The youngsters lost to Whitehall in two games; 24-26 and 26-28.
WMC boys soccer defeats rival MCC
The Western Michigan Christian boys soccer team traveled to take on cross-town rivals Muskegan Catholic Central, winning the match 4-2.
WMC narrowly outshot the Crusaders 17-15, but wasted no time connecting with the net. Just four minutes into the game Tyler VanBeek crossed a ball to Kadin Riksen for a tap in score.
MCC tied the game at the 18-minute mark.
With just a few seconds remaining in the first half Hayden Hubers converted a goal and shifted momentum towards the Warriors.
That momentum served them well, five minutes into the second half Johnscott Finley assisted Chance Larson who played a nice touch for a goal, putting WMC up 3-1.
Catholic would not roll over, however, scoring another goal to come within one just ten minutes later. The game was won when Tyler VanBeek struck a ball cross-cage putting WMC up 4-2.
Jake Moser recorded six saves in goal.
“MCC came to play this game,” said WMC coach David Hulings. “You could see the improvements Bill has been able to do. He does a good job of improving as he goes through the season. They will be a dangerous team in the district.”
The Warriors have clinched the Lakes Eight conference title already, but hope to remain unbeaten through the rest of their league play. The Warriors take on No. 9 Leland on Friday night, WMC sits at No. 2 in Division 4.
WMC keeper Jameson Goorman recorded the shutout.
Junior varsity: WMC defeated Libertas Christian (formerly Hudsonville Freedom Christian, 8-0.
Haven polo falls to stalwart Hudsonville
The Grand Haven boys water polo team battled with No. 4 Hudsonville on Wednesday night, losing 9-2.
The Bucs took 28 shots and had a plus three-turnover ratio with 15 steals. Grant Ruster accounted for six of those.
The Bucs trailed 2-0 after the first quarter and 3-1 at halftime before letting the game slip away in the second half.
“Hudsonville is ranked 4th in the state for a reason,” said Grand Haven Coach Bill Hamm. “Outstanding goal keeping, a defensive style that simple stifled our offense, and they are very well coached.”
The Bucs return to the pool to take on Jenison on Oct. 10.
Fruitport equestrian qualifies for state meet
The Fruitport equestrian team is headed to the state meet next weekend in Division C. The Trojans recorded 348 points during last weekend’s regional competition to win the Region D Division C grouping.
Traverse City Central finished in second with 286 points, closely followed by Elk Rapids with 257 in third place.
Sydney Bleich led the Trojans with 91 points, while Alexis Juergens added 85. Stefanie Beckley chipped in with 77 points, Danielle Hysell added 62 and Abigail Edmonson came in with 33.
“These girls are ready for another state title, as they won the Division A title in 2014,” said Fruitport coach Phyla Bramer. “We missed going to state last year by placing third at regionals, so we were motivated to get back there this year. Coach Johnson and I are confident that we will get a good showing by these young ladies and their equine partners next weekend.”