Preview: Contenders Aiming to be Champions

November 1, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Five teams will look to make history Saturday as they play for their first MHSAA boys soccer championships. And at least two are assured of doing so.

The Lower Peninsula Division 1 and 4 championship games feature four teams looking to win for the first time, including first-year school Bloomfield Hills. Spring Lake in Division 2 also is going for its first Finals win, but against three-time champion East Lansing and one of the state’s winningest coaches in Nick Archer.

Only in Division 3 is a team assured of adding to its trophy collection. Flint Powers Catholic is hoping for its first title since 1996, but must beat reigning champion Grand Rapids South Christian to earn it.

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

Division 1 at Troy Athens, Noon
Bloomfield Hills (16-2-5) vs. Ann Arbor Skyline (20-1-5)

Division 2 at East Kentwood Crestwood Middle School, Noon
East Lansing (24-2) vs. Spring Lake (16-6-3)

Division 3 at Troy Athens, 3 p.m.
Grand Rapids South Christian (21-1-3) vs. Flint Powers Catholic (14-8-2)

Division 4 at East Kentwood Crestwood Middle School, 3 p.m.
Grand Rapids Covenant Christian (22-1-3) vs. Lansing Christian (21-0-1)

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. Radio broadcasts of the Soccer Finals will be available on

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


20-1-5, No. 3
Coach: Chris Morgan, fourth season (53-17-16)
League finish: Second in Southeastern Conference Red
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Players to watch: Alec Lasinski, jr. F (32 goals, six assists); Nick Russo, sr. M (11 assists, three goals).
Outlook: Skyline has improved in the win column each season during its four as a varsity program and won its second straight District title two weeks ago. The Eagles beat No. 5 Caledonia and honorable mentions Okemos and Salem to win the Regional and advance to the championship game. Lasinski earned an all-state honorable mention as a sophomore and leads an offense that has outscored opponents 74-15 with 14 shutouts this fall.

16-2-5, unranked
Coach: Dougie Macaulay, first season (16-2-5)
League finish: Second in Oakland Activities Association White
Championship history: First season as a school.
Players to watch: Alex Joneson, jr. F; Griffin Hamel, sr. GK (statistics not submitted).
Outlook: This is the first year of Bloomfield Hills soccer and school, which was created by a merger of Lahser and Andover. Lahser won one MHSAA title and finished runner-up twice during its history. The only teams to score more than one goal on Bloomfield Hills this season were the two that beat the Black Hawks, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek and Birmingham Groves. Bloomfield Hills has won 13 straight, including avenging that loss to Groves with a 4-1 win in the District opener.


24-2, No. 4
Coach: Nick Archer, 38th season (572-152-72)
League finish: Second in Capital Area Activities Conference Blue
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2005), two runner-up finishes.
Players to watch: DeJuan Jones, jr. F (25 goals, eight assists); Tommy Lammers, sr. M (six goals, five assists); Ben Swanson-Ralph, sr. F (14 goals, 12 assists).
Outlook: East Lansing advanced with its first Regional title since 2007, but was poised for such a run after claiming the league and District titles in 2012 with Swanson-Ralph making the all-state first team and Lammers earning an honorable mention. The Trojans spent much of this season ranked No. 1 before a couple close losses near the end to No. 6 DeWitt and Division 1 honorable mention Okemos. East Lansing then beat DeWitt and No. 2 Linden on its way to this championship game. 

16-6-3, unranked
Coach: Jeremy Thelen, 13th season (200-70-11)
League finish: Second in Lakes 8 Conference
Championship history: 2011 runner-up.
Players to watch: Nic Ellingboe, sr. F (19 goals, seven assists); Kyle Zietlow, jr. M (10 goals, 12 assists); Keegan George, soph. F (13 goals, six assists).
Outlook: This is Spring Lake’s second Division 2 Final appearance in three seasons, and the Lakers are riding a seven-game winning streak including a shootout victory over Fruitport after losing to the Trojans in the league championship game. In fact, Spring Lake could make a run at three Finals berths in four seasons next fall; Ellingboe and defender Adam Ross are the only senior starters.


14-8-2, No. 6
Coach: Tony Rowe, second season (28-15-2)
League finish: First in Saginaw Valley Association
Championship history: Class B champion 1996.
Players to watch: Jared Pechette, sr. M (10 assists, eight goals); Christian Mansour, sr. M (15 assists, five goals); Charlie Emmert, sr. F (13 goals, three assists).
Outlook: Powers has piled up successes with two league titles under Rowe, a 2003 graduate in his first varsity coaching position. The Chargers are riding a 12-game unbeaten streak after beginning the season 3-6. Although Powers has only six seniors, three start in the midfield with Brad Tuttle joining Pechette and Mansour. 

21-1-3, No. 1
Coach: Jason Boersma, third season (58-8-8)
League finish: First in O-K Gold
Championship history: Two titles (most recent 2012), one runner-up finish.
Players to watch: Marlon Bykerk, sr. M (11 goals, 17 assists); Cody Kok, sr. M (11 assists, nine goals); Nick VanderHorst, sr. M (13 goals, three assists), Zac Medendorp, sr. GK (0.45 goals-against average, 15 shutouts).
Outlook: South Christian is playing for its third title in four seasons led by a talented midfield including 2012 all-stater Bykerk and honorable mention Kok and a keeper whose shutout total makes the MHSAA record book (Medendorp earned his 16th in the Semifinal against No. 5 Whitehall). The Sailors’ lone loss this season was in their opener, 1-0 to Division 2 honorable mention Grand Rapids Christian – and South Christian won the rematch 2-1.  


22-1-3, No. 1
Coach: Mike Noorman, 10th season (127-66-14)
League finish: First in River Valley Conference
Championship history: 2012 runner-up.
Players to watch: Corbin Prince, sr. M (27 goals, 15 assists), Travis Bouwkamp, jr. F (23 goals 16 assists), Cole Bleyenberg, sr. F (12 goals, nine assists), Austin Brower, sr. GK (0.28 GAA, 13 shutouts).
Outlook: After falling short to Hamtramck Frontier International in last season’s Division 4 Final, Covenant Christian has dominated in its quest to finish the run this fall. Brower was an all-stater as a junior and Prince made the second team. They are two of 11 seniors on a team that started with seven straight shutouts and has given up only three goals during the postseason despite dispatching of No. 2 Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Central and No. 10 Bellaire during the run.

21-0-1, honorable mention
Coach: Joel Vande Kopple, sixth season (114-15-5)
League finish: Does not play in a league.
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Players to watch: Jordan Terry, sr. F (26 goals, 11 assists), Martin Lang, Jr., jr. F (18 goals, eight assists), Brayan Guzman-Ortiz, jr. F (11 goals, six assists), Alex McDowell, soph. M (11 goals, five assists).
Outlook: The Pilgrims didn’t enter the tournament among the top 10. But Lansing Christian proved its skill early with wins over Division 2 Haslett and Division 3 Williamston, and then beat Division 4 honorable mention Genesee Christian and No. 7 Bloomfield Hills Roeper on the way to this first Final. Terry is a returning all-stater and a dangerous scorer, but the defense is talented as well – the Pilgrims didn’t give up a goal in the playoffs until Roeper scored one in the Semifinal.

PHOTO: Grand Rapids South Christian’s Marlon Bykerk (4) advances the ball during last season’s Lower Peninsula Division 3 Final win over Williamston. He and his team return to the championship game Saturday. (Click to see more from High School Sports Scene.)

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.