A goal moments before halftime and another 35 seconds into the second half helped guide the Lakers’ varsity girls soccer team to a 10-2 win over Reeths-Puffer in the semifinal round of the Division 2 district tournament.
Spring Lake, the tournament host, will take on Coopersville in the district championship game on Saturday at 5 p.m.
To see more photos from Thursday's game, click here.
Mariada Gezon scored off a rebound with 18 seconds remaining in the opening half to give the host Lakers a 4-0 lead. Less than a minute after halftime, Molly Miedema dribbled past the Rockets’ goalie and slid a shot into the open net for a 5-0 advantage.
“I think those two goals really kind of did them in,” said Lakers’ coach Jeremy Thelen, whose team is now 16-2 on the year.
Spring Lake had lost to Reeths-Puffer in the district finals last year. That gave the Lakers a little added motivation on Thursday.
“We beat them during the regular season last year, then they turned around and beat us in the tournament,” Thelen said. “We beat them in regulation again this year, so we were a little leery of this game.”
The Lakers came out on fire, but were turned away by several strong plays by the Rockets’ keeper, Gabby Klemp.
Spring Lake finally broke the seal when Anya Gordon’s long throw-in made it across to Kelly Hoffius, who knocked a shot in for a 1-0 lead.
Minutes later, Nora Adkins, a freshman who spent the regular season on the Lakers’ junior varsity squad, scored on a breakaway.
Another freshman, Saebryn Peel, scored on a header to make it 3-0, then Gezon scored moments before halftime for a commanding 4-0 advantage.
In the second half, Megan Harken, Leeann Latsch and Morgan Carey scored single goals, then Brooke TenBrink finished off the game with a pair of scores.
Taylor Walker and Olivia Nelson scored for Reeths-Puffer.
Thelen said the Lakers’ loss to Holland Christian on the final day of the regular season may have provided the perfect motivation to his team heading into the state tournament.
“Honestly, losing to Holland Christian was an eye-opener,” Thelen said. “We have some young kids who are still learning how to compete. I’m really proud of the girls tonight. We played a near flawless first half, and we played really well in the second half. Obviously, we have some work to do, but the way we played excites me.”
Spring Lake and Coopersville met in an abbreviated game during a tournament earlier this spring, with the Lakers scoring a 4-0 win.
“It’s hard to tell from that game,” Thelen said. “We were coming off a game against Grand Haven, they had been out there all day, it was really hot, so I’m not sure how much that win means.”