Kippe admitted that she and her teammates still haven’t forgotten the Lakers’ last meeting against the Trojans, when the unbeaten and No. 1 Spring Lake had its season ended in the opening round of the Division 2 district tournament.
“Last year was a really big disappointment,” she said.
This year, it was Fruitport that came into the game on a hot streak, having been listed as an honorable mention in the Division 2 state rankings the past several weeks. Tuesday’s loss was Fruitport’s first in league play.
Kippe put the Lakers on the board when she took a pass from Katie Smith and hit a shot past Fruitport goalie Lindsay Armstrong.
She then gave her team some breathing room just 5 minutes into the second half when she took a pretty feed from Morgan Gagnon and slid a shot past Armstrong for a 2-0 lead.
“The first goal, Katie Smith gave me a nice pass, and there was a big pocket in the middle because their sweeper played really deep,” Kippe said. “I just tried to sit in that big pocket. The second one from Morgan was another great pass.”
The Lakers’ defense and midfielders made that lead stand up thanks to tremendous play in the middle of the field. In particular, Katie Smith, Katie Albright and Katie Miedema won a huge percentage of the 50-50 balls in the midfield.
“We’ve been busting our butts working hard, but the bounces haven’t been going our way,” Lakers’ coach Jeremy Thelen said. “Today we worked hard and made our own bounces.”
Thelen warned his team following the game that a win against Fruitport, while certainly worth celebrating, isn’t enough to define its season.
“In the long run of our season, we’re still growing,” Thelen said. “This isn’t where we want to be, at our peak. We have to keep growing, keep building. We have more work to do.”
The Trojans have been slowed by injuries. Their outstanding senior Beka German is out with a knee injury, and dangerous scorer Linsye Haan played on a sore ankle.
Junior Lauren Hazekamp was Fruitport’s most dangerous player, but in the second half, she was unable to find any space against Spring Lake’s young defense. Lakers’ sophomores Hailey Pellegrom, Leeann Latsch and Molly Miedema, along with junior Kendall Meyers, swarmed every Trojan attacker that came near the Lakers’ goal.
“We got beat by a very good team tonight,” Trojans’ coach David Hulings said. “They outplayed us in every aspect of the game.”