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. 

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

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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.