CLARE - Lauren Bingham scored a pair of breakaway goals, the second with less than nine minutes to play in the second half, to lift the Elk Rapids girls’ soccer program to their second straight regional title in a 2-1 win over Freeland on Thursday evening.
Bingham opened the scoring late in the first half, taking a long pass from Kendall Standfest and outracing a Falcon defender down the left side of the field to fire a low shot inside the near post for the goal to make it 1-0 Elks at the half.
Freeland was able to tie the game up midway through the second half on a curling shot from Megan Hemgesberg that picked the corner of the net for the goal. It was the first goal allowed by the Elks in the postseason.
Elk Rapids got the eventual game-winning goal in much the same way as their first, with Standfest again playing a long downfield pass that Bingham was able to run onto, tipping it past a Freeland defender, to get an open look at the net, blasting it by the keeper for the goal.
“Honestly, I was surprised that we were able to make that connection,” Standfest said about her assist on the game-winner. “Lauren had a really tough angle on that shot, and credit to her, she made that, and that was a good goal, and we were able to finish with that.”
“It was definitely difficult, but I mean we all just came together, and found the back of the net when we needed to,” said Bingham after the game.
“The girls pulled through. They played with heart. They played with passion. They played with intensity, and they played great in the second half,” said Elk Rapids head coach Andrea Krakow.
With the victory, Elk Rapids (21-0-1) earns a rematch of last season’s state semifinal match against top-ranked Hudsonville Unity Christian on tuesday, June 13th at Cedar Springs High School.