On Saturday, the Buccaneers proved just how seriously they take their annual showdown with the Lakers as the host team came out on fire and stayed hot throughout in an 11-3 victory in the Grand River Rivalry game at Buccaneer Stadium.
The varsity boys game was the main event in a day packed with lacrosse action that also included both boys and girls middle school and junior varsity teams.
“We put everything together,” said Buccaneers’ senior Matt Burns, who scored a pair of goals. “We knew they were going to come out and fight tough. They’re big rivals. Those guys are our brothers, our cousins, so this is one game where records don’t matter. We know we have a big target on our back.
“We play with quite a few of them. We’re all friends.”
For a photo gallery from Saturday's game, click here.
The Bucs, who are now 9-0 on the season and ranked in the top 10 in the state, weren’t in a friendly mood early on as they raced to a 5-1 lead. Burns then scored with just 1.9 seconds remaining in the first half to make it 6-1 Grand Haven.
Spring Lake tried to make things interesting with a goal early in the second half, but the Lakers couldn’t claw their way back from their big deficit against a rock-solid Grand Haven defense.
Bucs’ goalie Dan Gignac made 10 saves on the 13 shots he faced.
“I was proud of the way our guys played,” said Lakers’ coach Doug Sharp, whose team is in its first year as a varsity program. “I knew it was going to take a great effort to keep pace with Grand Haven, and credit to their defense and goalie. They put a lot of pressure on our attack and midfielders, and we were never able to get things rolling offensively.
“They have a good group of players who have built a lot of chemistry on the field, and that showed down the stretch.”
Jack McKeough, Zack Kennedy and Michael Tomaszczyk each scored for the Lakers, who are now 6-6 on the season.
Jake Vieu, Trevor McNamara and Gerrit Boone each added two goals for Grand Haven, while Brad Glasser, Asa Pellegrom and Jared VanOrdt scored once each.
Grand Haven coach Murle Greer was thrilled with the way things went throughout the day, and was especially pleased with his team’s effort against the Lakers.
“We knew they had some guys who play for the West Side (club) program, and some other programs as well, and these guys know each other well,” Greer said. “We know they’re good players. These guys respect each other as players. It’s a heated rivalry, but there’s a respect, which makes it a lot of fun.
“We expected a fight, and we got one. Spring Lake is extremely well coached, very physical, very fast, disciplined. They’re becoming a better lacrosse team every time we see them.”
Burns said the victory over Spring Lake is one step toward a series of goals the Buccaneers have set for themselves.
“Our ultimate goal right now is to win the conference, then we’re hoping to push it pretty far in the playoffs,” Burns said. “Our biggest rival by far is Holland Christian. Those guys are tough every year. We had a crazy game with them last year, a crazy game with them this year (an overtime win for the Bucs), and I’m sure they’re looking to get back at us.”
Grand Haven could see Holland Christian again in the conference tournament, which begins on May 8.
Grand Haven hosts Caledonia on Tuesday, while Spring Lake hosts Grand Rapids Christian, also on Tuesday. That game has a little added intrigue for the Lakers because Christian is coached by Andy Sharp, the brother of Lakers’ coach Doug Sharp. That game will also be Senior Night for Spring Lake.