EAST LANSING — Zach Lane and the East Lansing soccer team couldn’t convert on any of their close opportunities in the opening half.
The Division 2 No. 9-ranked Trojans did after the intermission.
Lane scored twice in a span of five minutes to help top-seeded East Lansing open the CAAC Gold Cup with a 6-1 victory over No. 8 seed Haslett on Tuesday evening at Archer Stadium.
Brady Carlson, Andrew Person, Sam Lebbie and Sabri Fair also added goals for the CAAC Blue champion Trojans, who advance to face CAAC White champion and No. 5 seed Williamston in a Gold Cup semifinal Thursday.
“Specifically a big change for me was I heard someone from the stands yell, ‘Zach, just go score,’” Lane said. “The next time I got the ball I just decided to go for a goal. I got that goal and I think that just really got our team started. We saw that we just had to have that extra effort, and if we had that mindset the we were going to score that we were going to score. After that we didn’t miss a chance that we had in front of the goal and we missed a couple in the first half.
“I think it took after we saw one (go in) that we had the belief that we could get as many as we wanted.”
Lane’s goal with 26:18 left in the second half broke a scoreless tie and started an offensive outburst as East Lansing (14-3-1) scored five goals within eight minutes to take control.
“It opened the flood gates,” veteran East Lansing coach Nick Archer said of Lane’s goal. “That happens sometimes. I can’t explain it.”
Brian Coscarelli scored the lone goal for CAAC Red co-champ Haslett (7-10).
“We played a good first half and in the second half we fell apart,” Vikings coach Darus Ward said. “After they scored the first goal, we didn’t respond to going down a goal well.”
The second half surge was just one of several strong recent moments for the Trojans, who knocked off Okemos for the CAAC Blue title last week and topped then-Division 1 top-ranked Detroit Catholic Central last month. Archer wants his team to perform at a high level consistently as it continues throughout the Gold Cup and gets set to begin pursuit of a third straight Division 2 state title later this month.
“The game is won or loss by down time if you’re not ready for a certain part of the game,” Archer said. “That’s what we’re trying to do is put an entire game together from start to finish. They’ve showed that they certainly can play well at times.”
Contact Brian Calloway at [email protected] . Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.