Gull Lake Makes 1st-Minute Goal Stand in Claiming 4th Finals Title

By Perry A. Farrell
Special for

November 5, 2022

NOVI – Thirty seconds changed the Division 2 boys soccer championship match between Richland Gull Lake and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood on Saturday at Novi High School.

It took Gull Lake 30 seconds to score, as junior Ryker Corstange took a slick pass from senior Jasek Zielaskowski and blasted a shot from the left side to give the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead.

That ended up the only goal of the game, as Gull Lake (22-3) claimed its fourth MHSAA Finals title in a defensive struggle.

“Did I think that would stand up? With our defense, I would say yes,’’ said Blue Devils goalkeeper Evan Kaiser, who was brilliant in the victory. “We have a great defense. Everyone does their job. Everyone works hard, and we come together as one big family. Getting a goal early doesn’t take the pressure off, but it definitely helps our defense knowing we are up a goal.”

Gull Lake didn’t allow a goal during its six-game MHSAA Tournament run.

“We got a wake-up call when we lost to Mattawan 4-3 during the regular season,’’ said Ryker Corstange, the nephew of head coach Jeff Corstange. “That sparked us. We were insanely mad. We wanted to go out and show people what Gull Lake was about. We’ve been known to score pretty fast. Jasek just worked his tail off, got to the corner, crossed it and I was just there to shoot it in.’’

It was Jeff’s fourth Finals title, as he previously won three with the girls soccer team at Gull Lake.

Nathan Hooker (2) advances the ball for Cranbrook Kingswood. “This one meant the most,’’ said Ryker.

Jeff was noncommittal.

“We got healthy and got back to what we were supposed to be,’’ said Jeff Corstange. “We got Tre (Reiner) back there. He was out for six weeks, and he’s one of our best defenders. Getting him back in the postseason was huge for us. I didn’t think that goal would hold up, especially with the wind the way it was. The way they pressed and the way they shoot, with No. 2 (Nathan Hooker). We thought he might be able to take advantage of the wind. With that wind, you have to hit it a little softer. We’re not used to that.

“It was a beautiful pass from Jasek, sliding the ball over. We’ve been doing that all postseason. We practice it all the time, and they made the play. It was a beautiful goal.’’

Gull Lake entered the postseason as the top-ranked squad in Division 2, with its last title in 2020. The Blue Devils claimed victories over No. 2 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, No. 8 Parma Western and No. 9 DeWitt during their march to the championship game.

Cranbrook (15-2-3) won the Detroit Catholic League AA title and was ranked No. 3 at the end of the regular season. The Cranes pitched four shutouts on their run to the championship under veteran coach Chad O’Kulich.

Playing with the lead, Gull Lake kept the pressure on the Cranes, keeping play in Cranbrook’s end. Gull Lake’s Zavier Thomas was a constant threat.

Cranbrook found itself a goal down with no offense and no shots on goal in the first half.

“Kaiser is an incredible athlete. He’s a great keeper and one of the best I’ve coached,’’ said Jeff Corstange.

Desperate for a second goal, Adam Boyle hit the crossbar for Gull Lake 11 minutes into the second half.

Cranbrook finally got a shot on goal with 20:58 to play, but the attempt went wide.

The Cranes’ best chance to score came from Evan Evans, a senior midfielder. But his shot also hit the crossbar.

“They played hard, and they played aggressive, but they are classy,’’ said O’Kulich. “There was great sportsmanship out there. I think that starts at the high school level.’’

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Zavier Thomas (7) leads a run toward the goal for Gull Lake on Saturday. (Middle) Nathan Hooker (2) advances the ball for Cranbrook Kingswood.

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.)