Pilgrims Complete Mission for Respect, Title

November 2, 2013

By Tom Kendra
Special to Second Half

KENTWOOD – Grand Rapids Covenant Christian was on a mission to take the final step after losing in last year’s MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 boys soccer championship match.

Apparently, somebody forgot to let Lansing Christian know.

The Pilgrims were on a mission of their own – for respect – and they walked off the Crestwood Middle School field with plenty of it Saturday after a dramatic 1-0 victory over Covenant Christian that earned the Division 4 championship.

“We loved being the underdogs today,” said Lansing Christian sophomore keeper Chase Hansen, who helped his team withstand a furious Covenant rally over the final 20 minutes. “There was a lot of pressure at the end, but I just handled it by playing goal the way I’ve always been taught.”

Jordan Terry, the Pilgrims’ all-state senior forward, scored the game’s only goal 7 minutes into the second half, taking advantage of a brief open moment against the Covenant defense, and whipping a point blank shot from the 18-foot box over the head of keeper Austin Brower for the game’s only score.

The goal came after Brower, an all-state keeper, thwarted several other quality scoring chances by Terry and junior teammate Martin Lang Jr.

“I can’t really describe exactly what happened on that goal; it was just a split-second and the ball was on my (left) foot,” said Terry, who finished his senior year with 27 goals and 11 assists for the high-scoring Pilgrims. “I just had a go at it, and it got in there on the top of the net.”

Lansing Christian (22-0-1) came into the game with an outstanding record and on a recent hot streak, but was still considered an underdog because of the outstanding soccer tradition and superior size of Covenant.

The Pilgrims were playing in their first-ever championship game and failed to make it out of Regionals the past three years. And, in spite of their unbeaten record, they could only manage to garner honorable mention status in the final Division 4 soccer coaches poll.

Led by four double-digit goal scorers in Terry (26 goals), Lang Jr. (18 goals), Brayan Guzman-Ortiz (11 goals) and Alex McDowell (11 goals), Lansing Christian outscored its six postseason opponents by a combined score of  22-1. The Pilgrims used their speed to overwhelm one larger opponent after another.

“We can’t do anything about how small we are, so we try to change the game,” sixth-year Lansing Christian coach Joel Vande Kopple said.  We wanted to get the ball out on the pitch and run.”

Terry’s goal appeared to stun the Chargers, who dominated the final 30 minutes of play but were unable to convert on myriad scoring chances. Derek Dykstra nearly scored on a backward kick with 19:18 remaining; Corbin Prince, Travis Bouwkamp and Cole Bleyenberg had good looks down the stretch; and Jared Minderhoud was just high on a great chance off a corner kick with 6:29 to play.

“We just couldn’t find the back of the net today,” said 10th-year Covenant Christian coach Mike Noorman. “That’s really the only thing we didn’t do. They are obviously very good, and we didn’t capitalize on the chances that we had.”

Lansing Christian also had several other good scoring opportunities, most of them in the first half. Lang clanked a shot off the post 9 minutes into the game, and the Covenant defense almost scored a costly “own goal” 13 minutes before halftime.

The final minutes were a flurry of activity, as Lansing Christian defenders, notably Zach Hagy, Nick Ballein, Gabe Loredo and Josiah Granger, fought valiantly to protect the precarious one-goal lead. After the final seconds ticked off, the Pilgrims swarmed Coach Vande Kopple while the Covenant players lay strewn all over the field in disbelief.

“To be honest, in those last few minutes we were just holding on,” said Vande Kopple, whose team finished unbeaten, with one 0-0 tie in the sixth game of the year against Jackson.

The loss was particularly devastating for Covenant since it lost by a goal in last year’s Division 4 title game as well, 3-2 against Hamtramck Frontier International.

Covenant, which finished 22-2-3, was champion of the soccer-rich River Valley Conference and defeated No. 2-ranked Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Central (1-0) in a shootout in the Regional Final and highly-touted Bellaire (3-2) in the Semifinal. But once again, their quest for an MHSAA championship came up one game short.

On the other side of the field, Vande Kopple was struggling to find the right words.

“I don’t think I will realize exactly what we just did for a few weeks,” Vande Kopple said. “When it hits me, I’ll be able to explain it a whole lot better.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Lansing Christian huddles after claiming its first MHSAA title. (Middle) Jordan Terry celebrates after scoring the game's lone goal. (Click to see more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

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.)