For Spring Lake’s No. 1-ranked varsity boys soccer team, it turns out the third time was the easiest of them all.
The Lakers poured in four first-half goals and cruised to a surprisingly lopsided 6-0 victory over their fiercest rival, the Fruitport Trojans, on Saturday in their Division 2 district championship game.
Spring Lake had beaten Fruitport by scores of 1-0 and 4-2 earlier this fall.
“I don’t know if we can pinpoint what went wrong,” said Trojans’ coach Greg Kobylak, who guided his team to a 13-8-2 record this fall. “Obviously, they’re a good team, and anyone’s got to be at their absolute best to even have a close game with them, and we weren’t at our best today.”
With the win, the Lakers advance to Tuesday’s Division 2 regional tournament at Forest Hills Northern. No. 1-ranked Spring Lake (21-0-1) will face off against Grand Rapids Christian (13-8-2) at 5 p.m.
The other half of the bracket features No. 2-ranked Hudsonville Unity Christian versus No. 3-ranked Forest Hills Eastern. Those two teams will meet Wednesday at 6:45, with the winners facing off on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Spring Lake took all the drama out of Saturday’s rematch with Fruitport by scoring early and often. K.J. Sanchez, who scored twice in Thursday’s district semifinal win over Reeths-Puffer, scored two more goals in the early going on Saturday.
Then teammate Adam Clauss got into the act. Clauss scored one of the most spectacular goals of his four-year varsity career when he unleashed a wicked shot off a volley that slammed into the upper corner of the net, giving Trojans’ goalie Loghan Stong no chance to make the save.
“I think there was something about our last game here as seniors, and everyone just came together,” said Clauss, who also scored on a penalty kick later in the first half. “We knew we wanted to go out with a bang. It was great.
“On that volley, you just see the ball there and it’s like, ‘Why not just go for it.’ I was surprised it went in. The ball was pretty high. I didn’t know if I could get my leg that high, just went for it.”
Kaleb Winter scored on a well-struck shot in the second half to make it 5-0, then in the closing minutes, Josh Roberge hit a corner kick with just enough spin to glance off Stong’s grasp and into the net.
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