Lakers denied first soccer state title

With a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes of action in the Division 2 state finals at Athens High School, Spring Lake's varsity soccer team was one half away from winning the program's first state championship.
Nate Thompson
Nov 7, 2011

An inaugural state title was realized as the scoreboard struck all zeroes following a frenzied second half of action, but it didn’t belong to the Lakers.

Auburn Hills Avondale scored two goals in second half, including the game-winner with just 1 minute, 53 seconds remaining in the contest to crush the Lakers’ title hopes in the 2-1 final.

The loss snaps Spring Lake’s 16-game winning streak and ends its season at 23-2.

“This group was a great group of guys and they put in the time and effort to get here,” Lakers coach Jeremy Thelen said. “We pushed and pushed and pushed. This is a tough feeling right now, but they’ll soon be able to look back at this season and be extremely proud.”

Thelen said his team fell victim to being whistled for too many fouls, including on the game-winner.

The Lakers’ 16th penalty of the game, whistled deep in their own territory, gave the Yellowjackets a free kick around 30 yards out. Lakers’ goalie Harry Kriger said he remembered the scouting report highlighting Avondale’s strong play on set pieces, and he felt he was in good position in case the Yellowjackets attempted a shot on goal.

Avondale’s Danny Swanson’s bending effort was on goal, but Kriger couldn’t corral the shot.

“I didn’t get a good break on it and just got a palm on it,” the Lakers’ senior goalie said. “Then a kid game in and flicked it in.”

That “kid” was Avondale’s Skyler Russ, and his deflection into the net was just his second goal of the season. He also scored a critical goal in Wednesday’s semifinal win over Bloomfield Hills Andover, according to Yellowjackets’ coach David Muczynski.

To read more of this story, see the print or e-edition of today's Grand Haven Tribune.

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