The discrepancy showed when they met at Spring Lake High School on Friday, as the Rams rolled through the lakeshore winning, 13-3.
A young program paired with an unusually young team made for tough sailing against a full-throttle Rockford attack.
“Rockford is a good program, they have always been a good program,” Spring Lake head coach Doug Sharp said. “We talked about effort. As I watched Rockford’s effort and our effort, they were on two different levels.
“The good teams that we are going to play, play fast. We need to play fast.”
The speed of the game was evident from the outset, with the Rams grabbing two goals before the Lakers had a decent look at the cage.
Their first opportunity came on a man-up situation. Spring Lake managed three shots on cage seeing one saved, one hit pipe and one clear miss.
Spring Lake got on the board with 1:52 left in the first quarter as sophomore attackman Colby Brown dodged and dealt from behind the cage to a cutting Dominik Molotky, who buried the Lakers’ first goal.
Down just two after one period, the Lakers seemed to be hanging with the big bad Rams, it would unraveled in the second quarter.
The Laker defense gave up five goals over the second period, while the offense struggled mightily to possess the ball and capitalize on opportunities.
Intermission came with the Lakers down, 1-8.
After a failed man-up possession, Brown took the game into his hands once again from behind the net, driving around the cage and diving through the crease for a close-quarters goal.
Defensively, the Lakers managed to plug a few holes, giving up just three goals in the third quarter, while their clearing and possession game continued to struggle in the face of an unfamiliar zone ride by Rockford.
Senior Isiah Griswold grabbed Spring Lake’s final goal of the night just as the fourth quarter began.
After scooping up a rare face-off victory for the Lakers, Griswold dodged the ally and ripped an outside shot past the goalies close side for a goal.
Rockford’s two following goals brought the game to its final tally.
With a young roster featuring sophomores in premiere roles all over the field, the adjustments to the varsity game are starting to sink in for the Lakers.
“The speed of the game is fast, faster than JV,” Sharp said. “Varsity takes another warp speed. When you try and warp as a sophomore sometimes it works, sometimes it is hard.
“Rockford is by far the best team we have played so far this year, we played well, but I would have liked to see the game a little closer.”
Senior goalie Brant Verlinde was a major reason the game was as close as it was, saving a majority of the Rams’ 39 shots on the evening.
“Brant Verlinde had a tremendous game in cage,” Sharp said. “I told my attack, we need to give Brent some time off, save him a little less action on his side of the field.”
“It is a good learning curve, I think we got better today, but it still hurts to lose.”
The Lakers will look to get back on track today as they take on Caledonia on the road.
SL girls roll Lowell
The Spring Lake girls lacrosse team took on Lowell at Spring Lake High School, shutting out the Red Arrows, 14-0.
The Lakers scored seven goals in each half, showcasing seamless teamwork, exceptional draw control and outstanding defense.
Paris Heard and Lauren Sharp split time in the cage to record the goose egg, aided by defenders Grace VandenBosch, Reiko Johnson, Lauren Constantine and Grace Nass.
McKenzie Ely owned the center circle and, along with Kate Vinkemulder, paced a patient Laker offense.
Meg Ready led the way with four goals, with Josie Brown, Ely, Jonson, Audrey Van Linn and Vinkemulder also finding the back of the net.
The Lakers will take on cross town rival Grand Haven on Tuesday, April 18 in their first conference matchup at 7 p.m. at Spring Lake High School.