Kammeraad elevates his game for SL

Riley Kaameraad isn't surprised by his Spring Lake varsity soccer team's undefeated record or its No. 1 state ranking.
Matt DeYoung
Oct 9, 2012

The success, he said, comes as the result of hard work, a wealth of talent, and fantastic team chemistry.

What has surprised Kaameraad is his role in the Lakers' outstanding season.

The senior forward — a role player at outside midfielder during his junior year —  has scored a school-record 33 goals through 16 games this fall.

Lakers' coach Jeremy Thelen attributes the startling improvement to Kammeraad's maturing both physically and mentally.

"He's got a lot more confidence," Thelen said on Monday, a day before Kammeraad and the Lakers were to face rival Fruitport in the Lakes Eight Conference tournament title game. "He wanted to be up top (as a forward). Just that mental ability to go up there, to go after it has been big. Plus, he's matured physically. He's bigger and stronger than he was last year.

"He's a beast."

Kammeraad certainly looks the part of a beast on the soccer pitch. He appears taller than his 6-foot-1 frame, and his long strides give him deceptive speed. As he streaks down the field with his jet-black cleats churning up the turf, he's an imposing figure for opposing defenders to behold.

He's certainly caused nightmares for the opposition this fall. Kameraad got things started with a hat trick in an early-season statement win over rival Grand Haven.

"I think the Grand Haven game surprised other people more than it surprised us," said Kammeraad, whose Lakers trounced the Buccaneers, 6-0. "We were feeling really good before the game, and we knew we were going to come together as a team and do really well. We had a good idea we could beat them, we just didn't know how much.

"That game really got me going. It was my first hat trick."

From there, Kammeraad has been pouring in goals at a staggering pace. He notched six goals in a win over Tri-County on Sept. 18, then scored five against Comstock Park two days later.

Kammeraad buried four goals against Kenowa Hills and added hat tricks against Forest Hills Northern and Ludington.

He's scored a goal in 13 of the 15 games he's played (he missed the Reeths-Puffer game because of a red card). One of those two scoreless games was against Fruitport. In that contest, he drew the foul that led to Adam Clauss' game-winning penalty kick.

And don’t think Kammeraad is selfish, or one-dimensional. He also has 11 assists on the season.

"I didn't expect this," said Kammeraad, whose 33 goals are two more than the previous record of 31 by Jon Ritchie in 2005. "I think Coach having faith in me to keep me up top has been big.

Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

 

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