“It’s always a big game against Fruitport,” said Lakers’ senior Kelsey Fortier. “It always will be a big game. But we take it one game at a time. Tonight we were first to the ball a lot and we passed well. They packed in the box so we had to shoot from the outside a lot.”
The Lakers have now won five games in a row thanks to a balanced offensive attack that saw eight different players score goals in Monday’s win over Fremont. On Tuesday, it was Emily Walling who got the Lakers on the scoreboard first as she put one into the net off an assist from Morgan Gagnon.
Spring Lake’s second goal came later in the first half as Annie Cook made a great run and sent a shot that was heading slowly into the net before Chezney Peel hammered it home.
Katie Smith gave her team more breathing room a few minutes into the second half as she scored off a corner kick by Katie Miedema.
The three-goal cushion was plenty for the Lakers’ young defense. Junior Kendall Meyers and sophomores Leeann Latsch, Hailey Pellegrom and Molly Miedema shut down the Orioles’ offense, and goalie Molly Cooke took care of everything that came her way to earn the shutout.
“Latsch and Molly Miedema are locked down in the back, and they’re well supported by Kendall Meyers and Hailey Pellegrom,’ Lakers’ coach Jeremy Thelen said.
“Kendall has been one of the biggest surprises this season. She’s up there winning head balls like nobody’s business. For having three sophomores back there with her, they’re really solid.”
The Lakers won the regular-season league championship by going unbeaten in seven conference games, including a 2-0 win at Fruitport on May 10. This marks the fifth straight season Spring Lake has earned at least a share of the conference title.
In order to win the Lakes Eight outright, the Lakers will need a win over the Trojans on Monday.
Thelen expects Fruitport to put up more of a fight after Spring Lake outworked the Trojans during the first meeting between the two teams.
“I expect a totally different game,” Thelen said. “I expect a knock-down, drag-out fight for 50-50 balls. Each team is going to get a couple chances, and whatever team can capitalize is going to win the game.”
At Fruitport, the Trojans’ Crystal White scored midway through the second half, helping them move on to Monday’s championship game. Fruitport outshot the Cardinals, 17-4.