Preview: Surprise-Filled Tournament Set to Culminate with Memorable Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

November 4, 2022

Every MHSAA Tournament in every sport surprises us with some of the unexpected. Soccer this fall certainly has provided a few unanticipated moments to remember.

Saturday’s four Finals feature a team making its first championship game appearance, a second also seeking its first title and a third seeking its first this century, plus a Division 4 championship match pitting unranked contenders.

Division 1 - Comstock Park - Noon
Rochester Adams vs Rockford

Division 2 - Novi - Noon
Richland Gull Lake vs Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood

Division 3 - Comstock Park - 3 p.m.
Holland Christian vs Grosse Ile

Division 4 - Novi - 3 pm
Muskegon Western Michigan Christian vs Ann Arbor Greenhills

Tickets cost $11 and may be purchased online only at GoFan. All four Finals will be broadcast and available with subscription from

Below is a glance at all eight teams taking the field, with statistics through Regionals:

Division 1

Record/rank: 16-1-6, No. 8
Michigan Power Rating: No. 8
Coach: Josh Hickey, 14th season (157-87-55)
League finish: Fourth in Oakland Activities Association Red

Championship history: Division 1 champion 1999, two runner-up finishes.
Players to watch: Jackson Craft, jr. F (21 goals, 10 assists), Luke Rosin, sr. D (14 goals, 16 assists), Nick Hopkins, jr. D (2 goals, 2 assists), John Coon, jr. GK (0.64 goals-against average, 12 shutouts).  

Outlook: Adams is returning to the Finals for the first time since finishing Division 1 runner-up in 2014, and defeated top-ranked Troy and No. 10 Salem along the way. The Troy win avenged Adams’ only loss, and the Highlanders also had draws against No. 5 Troy Athens, No. 6 Clarkston and No. 7 Berkley in league play. Striker Connor Patritto is one of six senior starters and had added eight goals and three assists entering the week, while junior midfielder Colton Janes added six goals and 11 assists.

Record/rank: 22-0-1, No. 3
Michigan Power Rating: No. 3
Coach: Tim Boelman, second season (33-6-4)
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red

Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Players to watch: Tegan Gumbs, soph. GK (0.53 goals-against average); Benjamin Battreal, sr. F (9 goals, 11 assists); Aidan Flanders, fr. F (6 goals, 8 assists); Andrew Bultman, sr. F (16 goals, 11 assists).
Outlook: The Rams are an early-September draw against No. 12 Grand Haven from a perfect record, and their run to their first Final has included wins over the Buccaneers and No. 2 Detroit Catholic Central. They’ve allowed only one goal over six postseason games, to Portage Central in the Regional Final. Senior midfielder Zenon Fedorowych had added six goals and six assists entering the week. Boelman has coached at every level of the program since first joining the staff in 2008.

Division 2

Record/rank: 15-1-3, No. 3
Michigan Power Rating: No. 12
Coach: Chad O’Kulich, 27th season (320-71-37)
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League AA

Championship history: Division 2 runner-up 2014.
Players to watch: Nathan Hooker, sr. M (10 goals, 8 assists); Bora Akgun, sr. GK (0.72 goals-against average). Evan Evans, sr. M (13 goals, 10 assists); Cameron Hannah, jr. M (13 goals, 5 assists).
Outlook: Cranbrook has returned to the Semifinals four times since its last championship, most recently in 2020 before taking the next step this season and returning to the Final. Hooker made the all-state third team last season and Akgun earned an honorable mention, and they with Evans and defenders Ian Chang and John Lee are senior starters. The Cranes have shut out four postseason opponents, including No. 10 Riverview in the Semifinal, and their only loss of the fall came in overtime to Division 1 No. 2 Detroit Catholic Central.

Record/rank: 21-3, No. 1
Michigan Power Rating: No. 1
Coach: Jeff Corstange, first season (21-3)
League finish: First in Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference

Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2020), one runner-up finish.
Players to watch: Jasek Zielaskowski, sr. M/F (22 goals, 7 assists), Ryker Corstange, jr. F/M (19 goals, 25 assists), Tariku Klipsch, sr. M (15 goals, 7 assists), Zavier Thomas, jr. F (12 goals, 9 assists).
Outlook: After closing the regular season with a pair of losses, Gull Lake has defeated No. 2 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, No. 8 Parma Western and No. 9 DeWitt on the way to this weekend. Jeff Corstange took over the Gull Lake boys program this fall after previously leading the girls varsity to three Division 2 championships and a 153-20-6 record over eight seasons. Ryker Corstange earned an all-state honorable mention last season, and junior keeper Evan Kaiser made the third team. Kaiser and junior Braden Minehart have nearly split time this season and combined for 14 shutouts.

Greenhills' Raj Tiller gets a foot on the ball during his team's game against Monroe St. Mary.

Division 3

Record/rank: 14-7, No. 14
Michigan Power Rating: No. 18
Coach: Jon Evans, seventh season (150-15-10)
League finish: Second in Huron League.

Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2020), two runner-up finishes.
Players to watch: Drake Rossi, sr. M (16 goals, 12 assists), Joe Molnar, sr. M (12 goals, 5 assists); Cannon Kawadri, sr. D (5 goals, 6 assists); Hayden Watson, sr. D (2 goals, 1 assist).
Outlook: Grosse Ile will be playing in its fifth-straight Division 3 Final, having won titles in 2019 and 2020 and finished runner-up in 2018 and last season. Only 8-7 at the start of the playoffs, the Red Devils have defeated No. 13 Milan and No. 2 Detroit Country Day during this run and saw Troy, Riverview and Elk Rapids as part of a strong regular-season schedule. Kawadri made the all-state first team last season, and Watson made the third.

Record/rank: 19-1-3, No. 6
Michigan Power Rating: No. 2
Coach: Dave DeBoer, 10th season (157-30-22)
League finish: First in O-K Blue

Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 2003).
Players to watch: Daniel Morgan, sr. GK (0.31 goals-against average,15 shutouts); Kyle Cannon, sr. F (16 goals, 3 assists); Lucas Freriks, sr. F (10 goals, 12 assists); Michael Pierce, sr. F (8 goals, 3 assists).
Outlook: The Maroons have navigated a postseason path that’s included wins over top-ranked Grand Rapids Catholic Central, No. 9 Elk Rapids and No. 15 Fennville. That lone loss came in the team’s third game of the season, against Grand Rapids South Christian, which entered the postseason No. 3 in Division 3.  Morgan made the all-state second team last year and has given up seven goals this fall while playing all but two games.

Division 4

Record/rank: 8-6-4, unranked
Michigan Power Rating: No. 39
Coach: Lucian Popescu, 13th season (161-100-26)
League finish: Fifth in Detroit Catholic League AA

Championship history: Division 4 champion 2017, four runner-up finishes.
Players to watch: Lachlan Rae, jr. M (5 goals, 4 assists); Michael Zheng, jr. F (15 goals, 5 assists); Jay Vigan, sr. M (4 goals, 11 assists); Adrian Bardwell, sr. D.
Outlook: Greenhills came out of a league that includes Division 2 finalist Cranbrook, and the Gryphons played mostly larger teams before entering the postseason at 3-6-4. That preparation clearly has paid off as Greenhills has yet to give up a goal over five playoff games, with wins over No. 11 Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep, No. 6 Plymouth Christian Academy and No. 3 Lansing Christian along the way. Bardwell earned an all-state honorable mention last season, and sophomore Etienne Rouillard has a 1.2 goals-against average in net.

Record/rank: 15-8-2, unranked
Michigan Power Rating: No. 11
Coach: Ben Buursma, third season (37-23-6)
League finish: Does not play in a league.

Championship history: Seven MHSAA titles (most recent 2019), six runner-up finishes.
Players to watch: Gavin Riksen, sr. F (18 goals, 5 assists); Charlie Buursma, jr. M (8 goals, 11 assists); Ashton Leffring, sr. F (22 goals, 18 assists); Cole DeJonge, soph. M (6 goals, 9 assists).

Outlook: Western Michigan Christian rebounded from a 2-5 start to get to 10-8-2 by the end of the regular season, and then reached its 14th Final despite losing a top midfielder to injury during the run. The Warriors have won eight straight games, avenging losses to No. 13 Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian and Leland during the playoffs and defeating top-ranked Hartford in a Regional Final. Leffring made the all-state second team last season.

PHOTOS (Top) Gull Lake's Jasek Zielaskowski gains possession during his team's Semifinal win Wednesday. (Middle) Greenhills' Raj Tiller gets a foot on the ball during a Gryphons' win over Monroe St. Mary. (Top photo courtesy of The Open Shutter Photo/Cindy Corstange. Middle photo by Lei Zheng.)

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.)