Holland Christian Lands Title Trophy with Corner Connections, Shutout Defense

By Tim Robinson
Special for MHSAA.com

November 5, 2022

COMSTOCK PARK — It came down to corner kicks in the Division 3 boys soccer championship game on Saturday.

Holland Christian converted twice, both during the second half, and took home its first Finals title since 2003 by defeating Grosse Ile 2-0 at Comstock Park High School.

Derek Huisman scored near the halfway point of the second half after a scoreless first, and Michael Pierce put the game effectively out of reach on a header with just under 11 minutes to go.

Making it that much sweeter for Huisman, a senior defender, was that the score was his first high school goal.

“It doesn’t get any better than that in high school sports,” said Maroons coach Dave DeBoer, freshly drenched in ice water after the game. 

The Maroons (20-1-3) allowed only two goals over their final 13 games, with 10 shutouts in a row. 

But Holland Christian made sure not to overlook Grosse Ile, which was playing in its fifth-consecutive Final.

“We came in knowing they were solid,” Huisman said. "Any team that makes it to the Final is a great team. Our coach prepared us well. We knew we could win, but we never underestimated them.”

The Maroons’ Jon Hogsten (4) and Grosse Ile’s Sam Vesperman battle for possession. After a first half played with howling winds and at times heavy rain, conditions eased up at halftime, while the Maroons made some adjustments.

"I felt we had a few opportunities in the first half, but we were hoping for better execution in the second half,” DeBoer said. "A corner kick is always dangerous for us, and we put one away. The second one, we felt really good then.”

At the 24-minute mark of the second half, Holland Christian took what turned out to be a decisive corner kick.

"I was trying to contest the ball,” Huisman said. "You always think about putting it away, but you never know what’s going to happen on corners, because it’s always a little bit wild in there. When the ball hit the ground, I knew I had to put it away, so off the foot and right in the back of the net.”

Pierce put the game out of reach with his ninth goal of the season 14 minutes later. 

"I saw the ball coming, and I knew the kid covering me was smaller than me,” he said. “So I jumped, got my head on it, and put it exactly where I needed to.”

The stifling Maroons defense, which allowed only seven goals all season while recording 18 shutouts, did the rest. 

Grosse Ile, meanwhile, came into the match with an eight-game winning streak that started in the second-to-last game of the regular season. 

“I thought we put out a really great effort,” said Grosse Ile coach Jon Evans, who led the Red Devils (14-8) to all of those five-straight Division 3 Finals. “The senior class won two titles and lost two. There’s nothing to keep our heads down about. We started the season 1-3, and we’ve overcome a lot to get here. Today, the result is disappointing, but overall it was a successful season to get here and get back to the Final.”

Click for the full box score

PHOTOS (Top) Holland Christian celebrates its first MHSAA Finals championship Saturday since 2003. (Middle) The Maroons’ Jon Hogsten (4) and Grosse Ile’s Sam Vesperman battle for possession. 

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.)