Forest Hills Northern Caps Title Climb

November 2, 2019

By Perry A. Farrell
Special for Second Half

NOVI – Undefeated Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern ended a brilliant two-year run with an MHSAA Division 2 soccer championship Saturday at Novi High School.


A penalty kick by Aidan O’Connor during the first half and a late goal by Ludwig Tilly were enough to secure the Huskies’ first title in soccer with a 2-0 victory over Melvindale.

“This group of seniors really kept an even keel,’’ said FHN coach Daniel Siminski. “That was a tough matchup today. Melvindale played great. They had a great game plan. In the second half, we settled down.’’

Forest Hills Northern came into the championship on a 45-1-2 run over the past two seasons, with the lone defeat coming in last year’s Final in a 1-0 shootout at the hands of Detroit Country Day. This time, the Huskies finished the year with a record of 23-0-1.

“It was tough coming up last year with all these guys and not getting a win,’’ said O’Connor. “We have 14 seniors, and to get the win was great.’’

Many of the holdovers from that team participated in Saturday’s championship with title aspirations on their minds. Northern had finished runner-up last year and 2015.

Melvindale (16-4-2), supported by an excited community, was experiencing its greatest season ever and had outscored its opponents by a combined 21-5 in tournament play.

The Huskies’ smothering defense was all over the Cardinals early as both teams tried to establish a tempo.

The game turned at the 20-minute, 33-second mark when Northern was awarded a penalty kick. O’Connor beat goalie Julian Castillo, who came into this week with 322 saves on the season, on the left side for the game’s first score.

“We’ve been scored on only four times during the playoffs, and all four times was when I wasn’t on the field,’’ said O’Connor. “Once we got that one goal, I felt the game was in the bag. Everybody knows we have a history of losing in the state finals. It’s good to finally break that standard.’’

Melvindale had a chance to tie the game, but Alhusain Yahya‘s would-be goal was nullified by an offsides penalty.

The Cardinals relied on their starting 10 and Castillo in goal, while Northern went with two keepers, Carter Clark in the first half and Jonathan Kliewer in the second.

Castillo, who singlehandedly kept the Cardinals in the game, went down with 18:04 to play in the second half when he collided knees with a Forest Hill Northern player. Castillo was helped off the field and replaced by Abdul Fattah Ahmed.

Castillo returned with 12 minutes to play to the cheers of the Melvindale faithful. Two minutes later Tilly scored the final goal off an assist from Nate Metcalf to make it 2-0. It was Tilly’s 12th goal of the season.

“It made it more comfortable,’’ said Siminski. “I felt like my defense was handling itself fine. That’s what they had done all year. Getting another goal just nailed it. A two-goal lead allowed us to finish strong. We’re talented. We have good players, starting with Aidan O’Connor, who was Gatorade Player of the Year last year. He’s a tremendous talent.

“There’s not weakness across that line. We have height and speed. You have to beat us. We don’t make a lot of mistakes.’’

Melvindale was playing in its first MHSAA Final in this sport, and Cardinals coach Tomas Belba was optimistic about a return trip.

“Good run, but we couldn’t capitalize when we had the chance,’’ he said. “We tried. They’re a great defensive team, and we couldn’t get any chances. They deserve it. All for next year.’’

Click for the full scoring summary.

PHOTOS: (Top) Forest Hills Northern celebrates its first boys soccer Finals championship. (Middle) The Huskies' Ludwig Tilly (5) works to control the ball against Melvindale's defense.

Be the Referee: Soccer Offsides or Goal?

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

May 23, 2023

Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

Below is this week's segment – Soccer Offsides or Goal? - Listen

Today we’re on the soccer field for another You Make the Call.

Team A has a throw-in near midfield. Team A’s No. 9 is clearly in an offside position when the throw-in comes directly to her. She collects the ball and kicks it past the keeper and into the goal. What’s the call?

Should the referee:

► Award an indirect free kick to Team B?

► Award a goal kick to Team B?

► Award a re-take of the throw-in to Team A?

► Award a goal to Team A?

If you said, "Award a goal to Team A" … you are correct, despite the goal-scorer being in a clear offsides position.

The soccer rulebook states that a player shall not be penalized for offsides if she receives the ball directly from a goal kick, corner kick or throw-in. It’s a legal play – and counts as a goal.

Previous Editions:

May 16: Track & Field Exchange Zones - Listen
May 9: Girls Lacrosse Self-Start - Listen
May 2: Baseball/Softball Overthrow - Listen
April 25: Fifth-Quarter/Third-Half Rule - Listen
April 18: Soccer Referee in Play? - Listen
April 11: Softball Strikeout - Listen
March 14: Basketball Instant Replay - Listen
March 7: Hockey Overtime - Listen
Feb. 28: Baker Bowling - Listen
Feb. 21: Ski Finish - Listen
Feb. 14: Swimming Touchpads - Listen
Feb. 7: In or Out-of-Bounds in Wrestling - Listen
Jan. 31: Over the Back - Listen
Jan. 24: Competitive Cheer Judges - Listen
Jan. 17: More Lines - Listen
Jan. 10: On the Line - Listen
Jan. 3: Basketball Measurements - Listen
Dec. 13: Pregame Dunks - Listen
Dec. 6: Gymnastics Judges - Listen
Nov. 22: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 15: Back Row Illegal Blocker - Listen
Nov. 8: Swim Turn Judges - Listen
Nov. 1: Soccer Referee Jersey Colors - Listen
Oct. 25: Cross Country Tie-Breaker - Listen
Oct. 18: Soccer Shootouts - Listen
Oct. 11: Safety in End ZoneListen
Oct. 4: Football Overtime Penalty - Listen
Sept. 27: Kickoff Goal - Listen
Sept. 20: Soccer Timing - Listen
Sept. 13: Volleyball Replays - Listen
Sept. 6: Switching Sides - Listen
Aug. 30: Play Clock - Listen
Aug. 23: Intentional Grounding Change
- Listen

PHOTO: An official raises his flag during this spring's Trenton/Pontiac Notre Dame Prep game. (Photo by Chris Mudd/National Photo Scout.)