Local Sports Journal

Spring Lake neutralized talented East Lansing forward DeJuan Jones for most of Thursday’s Division 2 regional championship soccer game.

But Jones scored on his lone shot in the final minute to lift the host Trojans to a stunning 1-0 victory against the Lakers.

“It was pretty disastrous, but that is how soccer works sometimes,” said Spring Lake coach Jeremy Thelen.  “(Jones) just beat us at the end. We did a good job containing him all night. We played a great game. We played really well for 79 minutes.”

The loss ends Spring Lake’s standout season at 19-2-3. The Lakers also lost to East Lansing in last season’s state championship game.

The two evenly-matched teams battled at midfield throughout the game Thursday and down to the final minute.

On the winning goal, Thelen said the play started with a throw-in from the far right side. The ball skipped through the middle and Jones caught up with it about 18 yards out. The ball hopped up on Jones, who was able to redirect it to the left side of the net while all the momentum of the play was going to the right side.

Jones is headed to Michigan State to continue his soccer career.

Spring Lake had two shots on goal – including hitting the post early in the game – and East Lansing had three shots on goal.

Thelen was most disappointed for his senior class, which has been a huge part of the Lakers’ success the past two seasons.

“We have a lot of seniors on the team and they’ve given a lot to our program,” Thelen said. “We have a lot of young guy that will come up and step up into that role in the future.

“We played a really good game tonight,” he added. “I think last year when we played in the finals we weren’t supposed to be there and we kind of played in awe of them. Tonight we went toe to toe with them and it could have gone either way.”