Nic Ellingboe admitted it wasn’t the best shot he’s ever taken during a soccer game, but it may have been the biggest.
Ellingboe’s goal with 1 minute, 17 seconds remaining lifted the Lakers to a 2-1 victory over Sturgis in Wednesday’s Division 2 state semifinals at Plainwell High School.
As a result, the Lakers will have another chance for the program’s first-ever state title on Saturday, as they take on East Lansing for all the marbles.
The contest will start at noon at Crestwood Middle School in East Kentwood.
The game winner for Spring Lake Wednesday night came after Kyle Zietlow made a nice move to get the ball into the left corner, then sent a cross that got past Sturgis goalie Isaac Montoya.
Ellingboe was waiting on the far side of the penalty box. The ball bounced up, and he reached back and drilled a shot back to the left side of the goal. It bounced once over a diving Montoya and settled into the back of the net, setting off a wild celebration by the Lakers.
“I didn’t get a very good shot on it,” Ellingboe said following the game. “I just saw the ball go into the back of the net. I didn’t realize that’s all the time that was left. The goalie got a hand on it, but it got over him.
“I never thought we’d be able to do this,” added Ellingboe, who helped the Lakers reach the state finals two years ago as a sophomore. “I’m so excited. Not many people get a chance to go once. I get to do it twice.”
Sturgis proved to be a tough test for the Lakers, using a tremendous amount of speed and excellent ball control to dominate the game in long stretches.
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