Apr. 19—SPRING LAKE TWP. — A beautiful spring afternoon awaited players and fans on Saturday for Spring Lake's home soccer match against Whitehall.
With weather that nice, it likely added a little extra motivation to wrap the game up quickly — which the Lakers had no trouble doing in their 8-0 win over the Vikings.
Junior Meah Bajt and sophomore Lauren Cavalier both netted hat tricks for Spring Lake, who won their first game of the season after a scoreless tie with Hamilton earlier in the week.
"We were able to finish our chances a lot better than last Monday," Bajt said. "It was a lot more put together with our passes and more confident in general, not bad for our second game."
Varsity coach Becky May was forced to watch the game via live stream after having to quarantine, leaving assistant Grace VanLangevelde as part of a smaller Laker coaching staff. That didn't seem to hamper the players, who scored four goals in the final seven minutes of the first half to take a 6-0 lead into halftime.
"It's a younger team this year," Bajt said. "We've lost a lot of seniors over the past two years, and we didn't get to play together last year. We haven't really had much playing time with each other yet."
Spring Lake's effort out of possession helped put pressure on Whitehall's defenders, as Bajt and junior Zoe Komar led the Laker press and forced the Vikings into mistakes.
Cavalier scored her first varsity goal to open the scoring two and a half minutes into the game, and Bajt added a left-footed shot to make it 2-0 in the first five minutes of the game.
The ball rarely left the Whitehall half for the rest of the 40 minutes, but improved defending from the Vikings made clear goalscoring chances hard to come by.
In the final minutes of the first half, something clicked. Komar swerved a shot over the Vikings goalkeeper for a third goal of the game with 6:53 to play, and Cavalier added a second one minute later thanks to a pass from Komar.
"The biggest thing right now is getting up to speed," Bajt said. "Lauren was a lot more confident today and she stepped up in a big way for us."
Bajt was first to a loose ball and scored with 3:06 left in the half, and Ryann Gilchrist combined with Bajt and Komar for a well-worked goal scored by Komar to finish the half.
Gilchrist found Cavalier two minutes after the restart for the sophomore to complete her hat trick, and Bajt rounded out the day with a rebound goal after Eryn Bouwhuis had her free kick saved.
The Lakers' trip to Hudsonville Unity Christian on Monday finished after press time — they travel to Coopersville on Wednesday at 6:45 p.m.
You can email Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter @KyleTurkGHT.