GRAND HAVEN – Despite a period of heavy rain in the lead-up to the game, Grand Haven and Spring Lake were able to brave the elements and play their rivalry match on Tuesday night.
The match was mainly a story of who was able to take their chances on the attacking end, as goals from Jaden King and Zach Falconer settled the match for a Grand Haven team that had periods of dominance over their local rivals. The 2-0 final score may not have been entirely reflective of the match, but nevertheless the Bucs were obviously happier following the match.
“It felt good,” Grand Haven defender Ethan Jhamb said. “We just want to keep our momentum going.”
The first half was mostly spent with Grand Haven on the front foot. The Bucs were the first ones on the end of clearances and their speed in pressuring Spring Lake resulted in plenty of possession in dangerous areas. It took some time for either team to create much of a rhythm in possession, but five minutes in a long ball sent forward for Grand Haven’s Charlie VanSingle was dealt with smartly by the Lakers’ Porter Saunders.
Joey Fischer was the next Grand Haven player to have space in a dangerous area at the 26-minute mark, with Jonah Wilhelm stepping in to make a crucial interception before Fischer had a chance to shoot. A minute later, VanSingle had Laker goalkeeper Aidan Parker beaten at the near post, but the shot narrowly missed the goal post.
Neither team had a shot on goal through 20 minutes of play, but eventually Spring Lake began to find their footing following a fantastic save from Parker.
Play down the left-hand side gave Grand Haven a chance to cross, and the Bucs’ Gavin Jonker found himself in space. His header was aimed towards the top of the net but for Parker's hand, tipping the shot onto the crossbar and back into play before the Lakers cleared.
“He takes it so seriously and wants to get better,” Spring Lake head coach Jeremy Thelen said of Parker. “He works hard. He played a great game and came off the field upset.”
That save brought the Laker attack to life with 10 minutes left in the half, with Link Dephouse stealing the ball and taking aim at the Grand Haven net. His low shot was easily saved by Grand Haven’s Jack Kurburski.
With 9:30 remaining in the half, a Spring Lake free kick was in the range of Mulder, but his shot was a little too close to the center of the goal for Jack Kurburski to save. The teams went into halftime goalless, with the Bucs the closer of the teams to breaking the deadlock.
It was the Lakers who started the second half on the front foot, senior Benjamin Bush latching onto a clearance in plenty of space before Grand Haven’s Ethan Jhamb was able to marshal the ball out of play.
Dephouse was the next to go close for the Lakers, narrowly missing his shot after collecting a loose ball.
Seven minutes into the second half, King’s right-footed effort nestled into the net after a long pass from Max Jerovsek evaded a pair of Spring Lake defenders. With the one-goal lead, Grand Haven ran with their momentum, Parker making a sliding save from a Falconer shot and Grand Haven teammates unable to control and shoot into an open goal.
From there, the game quieted somewhat before a crazy sequence nearly resulted in a second Bucs goal, Parker again saving a VanSingle shot. The ball rebounded to the junior, whose chip bounced off the crossbar. With an open goal, Jerovsek’s header looped agonizingly over the crossbar.
Spring Lake’s continued to have their moments. A solid chance on net came midway through the half, as Saunders headed just over from a corner kick. However, a solid Grand Haven backline was able to get the job done.
With seven minutes left, Falconer wrapped the game up after latching onto a long pass, maneuvering around Parker and shooting into an open goal for 2-0. The Grand Haven student section had their fun at the end of the game, delighting in the Bucs’ ability to bring home the rivalry win.
“We brought intensity,” Grand Haven head coach Nick Tejchma said. “We had great possession, they communicated, we were first to a lot of balls. They showed up today.”
Contact Kyle Turk at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @KyleTurkGHT.
A previous version of this article had an incorrect name for Spring Lake goalkeeper Aidan Parker. We regret the error.