Preview: 4 Titles, Perfection on the Line

November 6, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

At this point in the season, it’s a rarity that any team has not tasted defeat.

But Saturday’s Boys Soccer Finals feature two teams undefeated this fall – including one seeking its first MHSAA championship.

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central and Burton Genesee Christian have not fallen in 2015 – and while Forest Hills Central has three ties, Genesee Christian has won 27 straight since falling in a Regional Semifinal a year ago. Forest Hills Central is seeking its first title in more than a decade; Genesee Christian is seeking its first title … period.

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern also will play in its first Final, and Williamston also is seeking its first championship after finishing runner-up in Division 3 two of the last three seasons. Canton is hoping to repeat in Division 1 after surviving a Semifinal against Rochester Adams, the team it defeated in last year’s Division 1 Final.

Below is Saturday's schedule, followed by a look at each team in the hunt:

Division 1 at Brighton, 3 p.m.
Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (22-0-3) vs. Canton (21-5-3)

Division 2 at Comstock Park, 3 p.m.
Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern (22-1-3) vs. Mason (23-3)

Division 3 at Comstock Park, Noon
Grand Rapids South Christian (19-3-3) vs. Williamston (19-5)

Division 4 at Brighton, Noon
Kalamazoo Hackett (20-4-1) vs. Genesee Christian (27-0)

All four Finals will be streamed live on MHSAA.TV and available on a subscription basis. A one-day pass costs $9.95 and allows access to all four games plus the Lower Peninsula Cross Country Finals. A month pass costs $14.95 and allows fans to also watch live the Volleyball Semifinals and Finals and Lower Peninsula Girls Swimming & Diving Finals, plus weekly coverage of the football playoffs. Radio broadcasts of the Soccer Finals will be available on

Click for links to brackets and scores. All statistics below are through Regional Finals.


 21-5-3, No. 9
Coach: Mark Zemanski, third season (62-7-9)
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association South
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2014).

Players to watch: Hunter Olson, sr. F (25 goals, 12 assists); Jimmy Walkinshaw, sr. M (five goals, 10 assists); Josh Posuniak, sr. M (six goals, 10 assists).
Outlook: The reigning champion lost two of its first four games and two of its final five of the regular season; hence the lower-than-expected ranking. But the Chiefs defeated No. 8 Salem in the District Final and No. 3 Rochester Adams in the Semifinal, and enter Saturday with six senior starters try to finish with a win. Olsen was an all-state honorable mention as a junior, and senior midfielder Jason Ren scored the lone goal of the 2014 Final.

 22-0-3, No. 2
Coach: Blair Lincoln, fourth season (53-21-11)
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference White
Championship history: Division 2 champion 2004.

Players to watch: Mohamed Haji, jr. F (17 goals, 17 assists); Anthony Bowie, sr. F (40 goals, 24 assists); Jake Ireland, sr. M (13 goals, 13 assists).
Outlook: The Rangers’ undefeated run has included tournament wins over No. 5 Detroit Catholic Central, No. 10 Portage Northern and No. 12 East Kentwood. They’ve improved substantially and annually under Lincoln, who formerly coached at Caledonia for a decade before taking over in 2012. Forest Hills Central was 5-12-2 that fall, but has improved its win total each year. Bowie’s 40 goals heading into the week are enough to make the MHSAA record book, and Haji earned an all-state honorable mention last season.


 22-1-3, No. 2
Coach: Daniel Siminski, second season (38-3-5)
League finish: First in O-K Bronze
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.

Players to watch: Brayden Texer, soph. F (38 goals, 15 assists); Dante Compean, sr. GK (.930 save %).
Outlook: Forest Hills Northern’s run to its first MHSAA Final has included wins over No. 5 East Lansing, the reigning champion, plus No. 3 Mattawan, No. 14 Petoskey and No. 17 Grand Rapids Northview. The Huskies have given up one or zero goals in 20 of 27 games and spread the wealth offensively after Texer; no other player has more than nine goals, but five more have at least five apiece.

 23-3, No. 8
Coach: Nick Binder, ninth season (175-30-12)
League finish: First in Capital Area Activities Conference Red
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 1997), one runner-up finish.

Players to watch: Leutrim Shefkiu, sr. M (26 goals, 15 assists); Holden Dippel, sr. D (14 goals, six assists); John Kingman, sr. D (seven goals, 26 assists).
Outlook: Mason occupied the top spot in the first three state coaches polls before a couple of tough losses to good teams. The Bulldogs haven’t given up a goal since their last defeat, a stretch of eight games including all six in the tournament. Shefkiu made the all-state first team as a junior and Dippel and Kingman earned honorable mentions and anchor a back line that has contributed to 18 shutouts total. Senior forward Christian Jordan (11 goals, seven assists) and junior defender Lirim Shefkiu (eight goals, 11 assists) also are key offensive contributors.


 19-3-3, No. 2
Coach: Jason Boersma, fifth season (88-20-13)
League finish: First in O-K Gold
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 2012), two runner-up finishes.

Players to watch: Carter Selvius, sr. GK (0.59 goals-against average, 16 shutouts); Ty Brinks, sr. F (20 goals, eight assists); Austin Clark, sr. D.
Outlook: South Christian will be playing in its fifth Final over the last nine seasons, and also finished Division 3 champion in 2010 and runner-up in 2013 and 2007. Selvius, a third-team all-stater last season, is the final line of one of the state’s top defenses, with Clark – a first-team all-state midfielder a year ago – moving back to defend in front of him. Gladwin on Wednesday was the first tournament opponent to score on the Sailors. Senior Zach DeKock and sophomore Sam DeVries both had 15 goals heading into this week to augment the offense.

 19-5, No. 3
Coach: Brent Sorg, 11th season (151-89-21)
League finish: First in CAAC White.
Championship history: Division 3 runner-up in 2014 and 2012.

Players to watch: Brian Ganton, sr. F (17 goals, four assists); Josh Ward, sr. M (11 goals, five assists); Eric Oesterle, sr. D (one goal, one assist).
Outlook: The reigning runner-up Hornets will play in their third Final in four seasons and have had great success under Sorg; this season’s win total matches their high during his 11 and they’ve won five straight District titles. Oesterle made the all-state first team last season and Ward made the second, but they are two of a number of contributors who have helped Williamston outscore its opponents by a combined 72-20. Senior Jacob Chisholm added 11 assists from the midfield heading into this week.  


 27-0, No. 14
Coach: Doug Anderson, seventh season (108-41-10)
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.

Players to watch: Cole Russell, jr. M (34 goals, five assists); Riley Buchalski, jr. F (18 goals, 21 assists); Caleb DuPree, jr. F (22 goals, 10 assists).
Outlook: Genesee Christian flew under the radar much of the season despite eliminating then-reigning champion Lansing Christian in a 2014 District Final. Among those to fall early were Division 3 No. 17 Frankenmuth; the Soldiers then cruised through the first four games of the tournament and then eliminated No. 9 Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett and top-ranked Lansing Christian, again, to reach this weekend. Russell made the all-state first team last season and Buchalski made the second, and the team also gets a boost from a defense backed by junior keeper Zach Noecker (0.35 goals-against average, 18 shutouts). 

 20-4-1, No. 7
Coach: Ian Troutman, first season (20-4-1)
League finish: Second in Southwestern Athletic Conference
Championship history: Four MHSAA titles (most recent 1995).

Players to watch: Will Knoll, sr. F (24 goals, 17 assists); Max Keenan, fr. F (18 goals, seven assists); Kieran O’Brien, sr. M (10 goals, 14 assists).
Outlook: First-year coach Troutman, who formerly coached the junior varsity at Haslett and played at Byron Center, has Hackett in its first Final in more than a decade after the Irish fell in the Regional Final a year ago. Six seniors start, including the entire back line in front of junior keeper Matthew Carpenter. They have traveled a tough road over the last two weeks, beating No. 8 Grandville Calvin Christian and No. 10 Hartford to win the Regional and then downing No. 3 Muskegon Western Michigan Christian in the Quarterfinal.

PHOTO: Grand Rapids South Christian sophomore Matthew Hubbard (13) works to gain control of the ball during a game against Lake Odessa Lakewood. (Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids South Christian.)

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.