Late Strikes Net Skyline 2nd Finals Win

November 3, 2018

By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half

NOVI – On a sunny, albeit chilly, fall Saturday afternoon, lightning still managed to strike at Novi High School during the Division 1 boys soccer championship game. 

But instead of from the sky above, it came on the field from Ann Arbor Skyline. 

In a game seemingly destined for overtime and a shootout, Skyline unexpectedly struck quickly, scoring two goals in a span of 58 seconds late in the second half to earn a 2-0 win over East Kentwood.

It was the second Division 1 title since 2015 for Skyline, and the first time in six MHSAA Finals appearances since 2007 that East Kentwood didn’t take home the championship trophy. 

The game was scoreless until there was 9:42 left, when Skyline junior Jamie Balms sent in a service to the top portion of the box.

Sophomore Gabe Kellman flicked it with his foot deeper into the box to junior Chris Emerson, who with his back to the goal did a mini bicycle kick and flicked a shot with his right leg into the goal to make it 1-0 Skyline.

“I turned my back and hit it,” Emerson said. “It was crazy. I couldn’t even explain it.”

It didn’t take long for the Eagles to add an insurance goal.

Just 58 seconds later, junior Oskar Shiomi-Jensen sent a cross into the box, and junior Bryce Schaner headed it into the goal to make it 2-0 Skyline. 

“We knew it was going to be a set piece or some sort of breakdown,” Skyline head coach Chris Morgan said. “We just told them before the game started and throughout the game. We said to ‘trust, trust, trust.’ And we got it. That was all it was.”

It was a stunning offensive outburst after a game that mostly featured stout defensive play and few quality scoring chances. 

That was expected going in, since Skyline had allowed just 11 goals on the season, while East Kentwood entered with five consecutive shutouts. 

Skyline remained firm defensively despite dealing with a rash of injuries throughout the year that cost the Eagles six starters.

But ultimately, Skyline’s depth on the backline showed through.

“They did an outstanding job,” Morgan said. “We didn’t make any subs in the back throughout the whole tournament. Hats off to those boys.”

For East Kentwood, it was definitely a strange feeling taking home the runner-up trophy.

The Falcons had won all five of their championship matches since 2007, the last a shootout win over Troy Athens in the 2016 Final. 

“We fell asleep on a set piece, and obviously Skyline is very good on set pieces, so you have to give them credit,” East Kentwood head coach John Conlon said. “Soccer is a game of inches, and they won the inches when it mattered.”

Conlon also praised the Skyline defense, which he knew would be a challenge before the game – and it played out that way.

“It’s hard to generate much against their team,” Conlon said. “It was a heavyweight bout, and two guys are trying to land punches. They finally landed a punch, and we couldn’t get one off.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Skyline’s Jamie Palms leads his team across the field in celebration of their Division 1 championship win. (Middle) Skyline’s Gabe Kellman (16) and East Kentwood’s Samuel Olson work to gain possession Saturday.

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.