So does Stong, who saved that try a year ago when the two rivals met at Spring Lake.
So when Clauss had a chance to give his team a victory over the Trojans with another penalty kick at Fruitport on Thursday, he made sure he found the back of the net.
“After Riley (Kammeraad) did a great job to get fouled, I’ve got to put that one in,” said Clauss, whose PK goal was the only score in the Lakers’ 1-0 win over their fierce rivals. “Stong is a great goalie. He saved one of mine last year, so this was a little redemption.”
Stong was greatly disappointed to have let Clauss’ shot into the net this time around, but gave credit where credit was due.
“I went the right way, but he hit a phenomenal shot,” Fruitport’s outstanding goalie said. “I knew which way he was going, but I couldn’t get there.”
Clauss was playing in his first game back after sitting out for two weeks with a concussion. He said sitting on the bench for those two weeks wasexcruciating.
“I was so excited all day to play this game,” said Clauss, a senior midfielder for the undefeated and No. 1-ranked Lakers. “That two weeks felt like a year.”
With the win, Spring Lake wraps up the regular-season Lakes Eight Conference title for the fourth consecutive year. They’ll enter next week’s league tournament as the No. 1 seed. The Trojans finish 4-2 in league games, having also lost to Orchard View. Fruitport received the third seed in the league tourney.
As is typically the case, the meeting of these two rivals brought out the best in both teams. The Lakers displayed the speed, precision passing and physical play that has made them one of the top teams in the state this fall. The Trojans’ fantastic effort put them at nearly the same level, even though they suffered a tremendous loss early in the game.
Senior Taylor McLaughlin went down with an ankle injury midway through the first half and didn’t return.
“Taylor has been playing amazing for us, and he stepped it up three more notches today,” said Trojans’ coach Greg Kobylak. “He played the best 20 minutes I’ve seen him play. I wish we could have had him for a full 80 minutes.”
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