After scoring early, the Spring Lake soccer team did not want to let another lead slip away against Fruitport — especially with a conference title on the line this time.
The Lakers didn’t let it happen.
Spring Lake added two goals in the second half for a 3-0 victory, securing a Lakes Eight title in the process. The Lakers have shared out won the league crown outright every year since 2007.
Spring Lake and Fruitport were both undefeated in the regular-season portion of conference play, with the Lakers giving up a late 1-0 lead to the Trojans in their lone contest on May 5 — ending the game in a 1-1 tie.
“We didn’t have another letdown — we didn’t want that,” said sophomore Nora Adkins when asked what it felt like to hold the Lakes Eight trophy. “It felt good to make sure we didn’t have that letdown.”
Kelly Hoffius, who led the Lakers with two goals, said that team play was the biggest difference the second time around.
“We wanted to beat them a lot more this time,” Hoffius said. “I think our mentality this game was a lot higher.”
The Lakers and Trojans both spent time in each other’s territory early during Monday’s contest, but it was Spring Lake that got the early goal.
Adkins connected with a streaking Hoffius for a score just four minutes into the contest.
“I knew that Kelly would get there because Kelly is really quick,” Adkins said. “I took my space and I saw Kelly right up the side, so I passed it to Kelly.”
Both teams will keep busy before district play begins at Coopersville next week. The Lakers have a makeup date with Lakes Eight foe Fremont. The Packers are winless in Lakes Eight games, but should they spring the upset over the state-ranked Lakers, Spring Lake would have to surrender a share of the league title to Fruitport.
Trojans have games remaining against Mona Shores and Grand Haven.
Still, the two rivals’ minds are at least partially on each other. Spring Lake and Fruitport could very well meet for a third time in the district tournament.
“We need to be able to finish,” Trojans' coach Jeannie McClain said. “We can outplay them on the field — that was obvious a few times tonight. We can outplay them on the field; all we have to do is finish. I know we can do it; I’m not worried that we won’t do it. We just have to finish.”
“It’s going to come. It’s going to come, I know it,” Lakers' coach Jeremy Thelen said of a third meeting with the Trojans. “They’re going to be ready for us, and we’ll be ready too.”
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