Canton Caps Fall as Undefeated Champion

November 1, 2014

By Chip Mundy
Special for Second Half 

BRIGHTON – Three years ago, Jason Ren watched his older brother Brian help Canton High School win the MHSAA Division 1 boys soccer championship.

Ren wanted the same feeling that his brother experienced. Saturday afternoon at Brighton High School, Ren got the same feeling and more. 

He scored the only goal of the game as Canton defeated Rochester Adams 1-0 for the Division I title.

Canton finished the season 24-0-3 and was the only undefeated high school boys soccer team in Michigan this fall. 

“I wanted this so bad,” Ren said. “It felt really good to win it again.” 

Ren’s big moment came in the 14th minute of the first half. He took a pass from senior midfielder Jack Zemanski and found the back corner of the net from about 22 yards out. It was the third goal of the season for Ren, a junior midfielder.

“Jack had the ball, I overlapped him, and he laid it off to me,” Ren said. “I just hit it as fast as I could in the far corner.” 

Although he did so early in the game, the Canton defense made the goal stand up as the Chiefs registered their 16th shutout of the season.

“The first goal is always one of the most important goals, so to get that was good,” Zemanski said. “Kyle Mettlach won the ball on a header, and the throw-in came to me. I just saw Jason called for it, and I laid it out for him, and he hit a perfect shot. There’s nothing a goalie can do to save that. 

“We just had to defend the rest of the game, and it worked out well for us.”

Canton, the Kensington Lakes Activities Association Kensington Conference champion, had faced Rochester Adams in the second-to-last game of the regular season. The 1-1 outcome was one of three ties the Chiefs had this season. 

“We were confident that we could beat them this time because we felt we deserved to win that game,” Canton senior Carter Schenk said, “but tying them I think humbled us a little bit. It made us think they could play with us and made us work a little harder.”

Rochester Adams, which ended its season 13-5-7, was runner-up in the Oakland Activities Association Red. It was the second MHSAA runner-up finish for Adams, which won the Division 1 title in 1999 and also fell in the 2001 Final. 

Both teams had six shots, but Rochester Adams had only one shot on goal, while the Chiefs had two. Canton goalkeeper Andrew Loehnis made only one save in the shutout.

“Our defense all year has been stifling,” second-year Canton coach Mark Zemanski said. “We had a shutout here in the Final and a shutout in the semis.” 

It was a cold day, and a brisk wind was blowing directly from one goal to the other. It gave each team an edge when it had the wind at its back. Canton scored with the wind in the first half and then held off Rochester Adams in the second half.

“The wind definitely made it difficult for both teams,” Mark Zemanski said. “We talked to the boys about keeping the ball on the ground and trying to possess. For the most part, we did a pretty good job of that. 

“We knew that whoever had the wind was going to have the favor. I think even in the second half my boys did a nice job of moving the ball around and at least keeping it away from them as much as they could.”

It was the second year in a row that Canton entered the postseason undefeated, but this trip had a much different outcome. Last year, Canton lost to Salem in the district, and the two teams had a rematch two weeks ago. Canton won that one 2-1 in overtime, and it proved to be a springboard to the MHSAA title. 

“I felt like that was a big thing,” Canton senior defender Sam Belcher said. “Knowing that our season ended last year and we were that good of a team, it was like, ‘We’re not going to let that happen again.’

“I wasn’t going to let my senior year stop after one or two games. We were going all the way. I knew that for a fact.”

Belcher, like the 11 other seniors on the team, only had to look back to three years ago and Canton’s 1-0 victory over Grand Haven for inspiration.

“The whole time leading up to this game, I was thinking back to being at that state championship game and watching them win; the joy on their faces and how they felt, that is what was driving me to win this one,” Belcher said. “I wanted to be just like that. It looked so fun, I wanted to be part of it, too. 

“This surpasses what I thought it would feel like, for sure. It’s like the greatest feeling in the world.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Rochester Adams’ Devin Beyer (1) leaps over a challenge by Canton’s Kyle Mettlach. (Below) Canton defender Beaumont Hoffman controls the ball during his team’s shutout in the Division 1 Final. (Click for all team and action photos from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

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.