HOLT – Sam Lebbie scored twice within a span of three minutes and helped the East Lansing soccer team add to its momentum heading into the state tournament.
Lebbie’s two second-half goals helped the Division 2 No. 5-ranked Trojans to a 3-1 victory over Grand Ledge in the CAAC Gold Cup championship game Tuesday night at Holt.
“This means a lot,” Lebbie said. “This is the first time I’ve won the Gold Cup so it means a lot to me.”
Sabri Fair also scored for top-seed East Lansing, which captured a league title and won the CAAC Gold Cup for the first time in program history. The Gold Cup crown was the second in three years for the Trojans, who improved to 16-3-1.
Hudson Morgan had the lone goal for No. 6 seed Grand Ledge, which knocked off No. 3 seed Mason and No. 2 seed Okemos last week to reach Tuesday’s final.
Morgan’s goal with 11:17 left in the opening half broke the scoreless tie and had the Comets (11-6-2) in good shape early to capture their first Gold Cup title. The lead for the Comets stood until just over 10 minutes passed in the second half when Lebbie scored.
Lebbie added another goal less than three minutes later, converting a rebound off a missed shot and finding the back of the net.
“Sam had a special night and is turning into a very dangerous player,” East Lansing coach Nick Archer said. “He’s blossoming more this year. This is his first year on varsity. He’s learning the game a little more and certainly he’s an explosive player.”
Sam Maves had two assists and goalkeeper Chris Wallace had two saves for East Lansing. Blaine Teahan registered two saves for Grand Ledge, whose coach Scott Dane declined comment.
In the Silver Cup final, Holt outscored St. Johns 5-4 in a shootout after the teams played to a scoreless tie in regulation.
Kyle Blackmer scored the decisive goal in the shootout for the Rams.
“It was so much pressure and I was thinking I just have to keep calm and focus on one side without giving away my position to the keeper,” Blackmer said. “It was just exhilaration and I was just so proud and I was so happy that I got my team through.”
The Silver Cup was especially exciting for Holt because it got off to a slow start. The Rams dropped seven straight to start the season.
“We’ve turned things around quite a bit,” Holt coach Aaron Smith said. “We were playing some really decent teams and we were quite young so it was nice to see us start to grow into playing well.
“The best part of tonight’s game for me wasn’t the fact that we won, but we gave up no goals. If you don’t give up any goals, you always have a shot to win a game.”
Contact Brian Calloway at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.