After Delay, Greenhills Storms to 1st Title

November 4, 2017

By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half

ROCHESTER HILLS – It wasn’t a pot of gold at the end of a literal rainbow over Stoney Creek High School’s field on Saturday, but an MHSAA championship trophy was still a great prize for Ann Arbor Greenhills.

For the first time in school history, Greenhills is a Finals champion in boys soccer following a 1-0 win over Kalamazoo Hackett in the Division 4 title game.

After the teams broke off for halftime with the game scoreless, lightning was spotted to start what turned out to be an 88-minute weather delay.

Skies eventually cleared, and the teams began the second half playing under a visible rainbow high above the field.

With 23:58 left, Greenhills made its trophy claim.

After earning a corner kick with a rush down the sideline and cross toward the middle of the field that was deflected out of bounds by a Hackett defender, Greenhills senior Jerry Tucker put home a perfect service into the box off of the corner by senior teammate Matthew Pumphrey for the game’s only goal.  

Tucker said he deflected the ball into the wide-open net with his hip/waist area.

“In the moment, I saw it was going over the guy’s head and I couldn’t go too low,” Tucker said. “It went off my waist and into the goal.”

From there, Greenhills (20-6-1) didn’t sit back with the lead and managed to put a good amount of pressure on Hackett without giving up any dangerous counterattacks.

The Irish did manage to earn two corner kicks after the goal, but they were harmlessly cleared away.

Greenhills had lost in its three previous MHSAA championship game appearances, the most recent in 2010.

“To be able to win is very difficult to describe,” said Greenhills head coach Lucian Popescu, who coached that runner-up team in 2010.“It’s hard to have words about it.”

It certainly was noteworthy that Greenhills was able to shut out Hackett, given the Irish (19-2-2) entered the game having scored 34 goals in six playoff games and hadn’t been shut out since its season opener against Mattawan.

“We emphasized simple things we needed to do,” Popescu said. “Instead of marking the forwards, we were actually looking to play more aggressive to try and stop the pass to them. I think we were able to be successful most of the time.”

Hackett head coach Ian Troutman certainly had lofty praise for the defensive effort turned in by Greenhills.

“They had a great game plan and their back line, in particular their holding midfielders, did a great job keeping us limited in time and space on the ball, which we are not used to,” Troutman said. “We are used to having the lion’s share of possession. We had a little bit of a hard time controlling the ball in their half. Their intensity and speed on defense really helped them out.”

Both teams had to deal with a rare November thunderstorm that forced the lengthy delay, which started at halftime when the teams huddled up for talks with their coaches.

Tucker said he and the rest of his teammates stayed off their phones during the delay, opting for other ways to kill the time.

“We ate come Cliff bars and we stayed calm,” Tucker said. “We kept our phones away and were trying to stay focused on the game. We are good at keeping our mindset.”

Greenhills did, and that trophy at the end of the rainbow Saturday is now headed to its school forever.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Greenhills players celebrate during Saturday’s Division 4 championship win. (Middle) Hackett’s Daniel Amat (4) attempts to gain possession.

Record-Setting Saving, Historic Scoring Send Grosse Ile to 2018 Boys Soccer Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 17, 2024

Grosse Ile’s Division 3 runner-up season in 2018 included multiple MHSAA team records for defensive and offensive success.

The Red Devils set a record with 21 straight shutouts and 24 total over 29 games, and also finished third all-time scoring 158 goals.

Their 23-game winning streak that season remains tied for seventh-longest as Grosse Ile finished 27-2.

See below for more recent additions to the MHSAA boys soccer record book, and click the heading to see the record book in full.

Boys Soccer

Keeper Ethan DeJager and Grandville Calvin Christian were nearly unbeatable in 2020, finishing 19-1-2 and runner-up in Division 4. They set a record allowing only four goals for the season, while DeJager is fourth on the season shutouts list with 19 over those 22 games and tied for the second-longest shutout streak at 13. DeJager was a senior that season.

Seth Davidson capped his four-year varsity career this past fall on three records lists for shutouts – 15 over 22 games this past season, 26 for his career and nine straight as a senior. Berkley as a team also made the fewest goals allowed list, giving up only 11 in finishing 18-2-2.

Caden Saxton capped a memorable four-year Flint Kearsley varsity career in the fall with four entries in the record book. He made the assists list with 27 over 21 games as a senior and also the single-season points list with 65, and made career lists in those categories with 63 assists and 149 points, respectively, over 71 games.

Jonesville advanced in its District this past season with an 8-5 overtime win over Blissfield on Oct. 12, and Warrick Elder played a big part scoring six goals. He’s a senior.

Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep’s run to the Division 4 Semifinals saw contributions from several players, and junior James Whiting was among those leading the way. He made the assists list with 30 over 22 games, and also the total points list with 49. He also sits on the career assists list after three seasons with 66 and one more season to play.

Holland Christian made the team list for 12 straight shutouts from Sept. 8-Oct. 19, and 15 shutouts total over 20 games this past season. Junior Adam Bergman was in goal for all 15 including the 12 consecutive.

Muskegon Oakridge senior Arturo Romero-Serrano capped his career in the fall with his second season reaching 40 goals, netting 42 total to finish his four-year career with 105 and also on the MHSAA career points list with 125. He also added a second six-goal game, against Muskegon Catholic Central on Aug. 25.

Monroe Jefferson’s season came to an end Oct. 11 in a District game against Riverview, but senior Gabe Gelso finished with a state record. He made 49 saves in the 9-0 defeat as the Bears had only eight players total.

Ian Klenk added eight more shutouts in goal this past fall to finish his three-season varsity career with 25 in 60 games and make the career list in that category. He’ll continue his career at Kuyper College.

PHOTO Grosse Ile's keeper Brendan Ebler (1) gathers the ball and charts his next move during the 2018 Division 3 Final.