Spring Lake’s improbable run through the Division 2 soccer state tournament came to a disappointing end on Saturday as the Lakers suffered a 2-0 loss to East Lansing in the title game at East Kentwood.
Trojans’ all-stater Ben Swanson-Ralph scored on a long-distance shot that Lakers’ goalie Joe Czajka got his hands on but couldn’t stop with 10:19 remaining in the first half.
East Lansing, which won its fourth state championship, added a second goal early in the second half when speedy midfielder DeJuan Jones scored on a two-on-one breakaway following a Lakers’ corner kick.
East Lansing controlled the action or most of the game, using its superior speed and tremendous passing to maintain possession.
Spring Lake had very few scoring opportunities playing against the wind in the first half.
For a photo gallery of Saturday's game, click here.
With the stiff, cold wind at their backs in the second half, the Lakers were more dangerous, but still never seriously threatened.
“This is one of those bittersweet moments for us,” said Lakers’ coach Jeremy Thelen, whose team lost in the state championship game for the second time in three seasons. “As a team, we didn’t really think this run would go on this far, so the guys enjoyed this run.
“This is something the boys will enjoy later, but right now, there’s a little sting to the way it ended. I’m really proud of these guys. They worked their butts off all season. We ran into a buzz saw of a team. East Lansing is good. They worked fast.”
For more coverage of Saturday’s Division 2 state championship game, see Monday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.