Skyline Soars to Championship Height

November 2, 2013

By Greg Chrapek
Special to Second Half 

TROY – When looking for the blue print to build a high school soccer program, Ann Arbor Skyline coach Chris Morgan would be the man to see.

In four years, Morgan guided Skyline from a team with no seniors that won eight games to the summit of soccer excellence in the state of Michigan. 

Morgan and his Skyline team reached the pinnacle Saturday when the Eagles defeated Bloomfield Hills 1-0 to win the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 championship at Troy Athens High School.  

“Every year we took a step in the right direction,” Morgan said, “and this is the coronation.”

To win its first title, Skyline needed a combination of strong defense and a timely goal as the Final was a defensive struggle from start to finish with scoring opportunities few and far between. 

Senior Josh Carn-Saferstein is one of the leaders of the Skyine defense and one of seven seniors who were on the school’s first varsity as freshmen and have witnessed the program’s steady rise.

“This is just an amazing feeling,” Carn-Saferstein said. “I was one of the freshmen on the varsity the first year we had a team. We just had juniors, sophomores and freshmen that year. I think it took a little time for our program to find its identity. 

“The players change but all of coaches stress the same things, and this year we all made it happen.”

The shutout was the third of the postseason for Skyline, which allowed a total of four goals in its seven tournament games. 

The defensive tone was set during the first half as the teams produced just one scoring opportunity apiece.

Skyline opened the second half with a pair of scoring chances. Junior Alec Lasinski, who led the team with 32 goals this season, almost broke the deadlock when he came in on a breakaway – only to be stopped by Bloomfield Hills keeper Griffin Hamel. 

Moments later Skyline’s Nick Russo sent a hard shot just over the crossbar.

Bloomfield Hills’ best scoring opportunity came with 22 minutes remaining, but Alex Joneson had his free kick caught by Skyline goalkeeper Cameron Lekas. 

The scoring drought finally came to an end with 19:13 remaining. Lasinski and Lawrence Mullen worked a two-man game in front of the Bloomfield Hills goal. A hand ball was called, and Mullen was tabbed by Morgan to take the penalty kick.

Mullen sent a hard shot low on the ground and with just enough juice to make it past the keeper for what proved to be the game-wining goal. 

“We have three players who can step up and take the penalty kick, and I am comfortable with all three,” Morgan said. “I picked Lawrence, and I knew he would do fine. He strikes a mean ball. We knew he would go hard and place the ball well.”

Mullen did just that and the result was all Skyline needed to grab the lead. 

“I just concentrated on placement,” Mullen said. “It was pretty scary. I hit a hard shot, and I thought the goalie got a hand on it. But it made it in.”

Mullen also had all the confidence of his teammates. 

“When Coach had Lawrence take it, I knew he would make it,” Lasinski said. “The penalty was called on me so I knew I couldn’t take the shot. That is what coach said. Lawrence is an amazing player, and I had faith in him. The whole team had faith in him.” 

With the lead, the Eagles turned the game over to its defensive unit even more. The Skyline defense did the job, as Bloomfield Hills was unable to get a high-quality shot on goal. 

For Bloomfield Hills, in its first season as the school opened this fall (after a merger by Lahser and Andover), the loss ended a strong defensive run of its own during this year’s tournament.

“We gave it everything we had,” Black Hawks coach Dougie Macaulay said. “We never gave them a clear-cut chance.” 

Penalty kicks proved to be one of the few ways teams were able to put the ball in the net against Bloomfield Hills this postseason.

“I’m very proud of my team,” Macaulay said. “We gave up only one goal in open play in seven playoff games. Two of the other goals we gave up were on penalty kicks. I’m very, very proud of the boys, and we had a fantastic season.” 

The Black Hawks also had to play most of the match without standout defensive player Jahza Klochco-Koo, who left with an injury in the first half and did not return.

With the win, Skyline ended the season 21-1-5. After winning its first District title in boys soccer last year, the Eagles completed the final two steps and clinched the school’s first MHSAA Finals title in any sport. 

“This is just amazing,” Lasinski said. “It feels amazing. To have all of our fans here and supporting us, this is very special.”

Click for the full box score. 

PHOTOS: (Top) Ann Arbor Skyline players celebrate their first MHSAA championship in any sport. (Click to see more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.) (Middle) Skyline’s Alec Lasinski (9) battles Bloomfield Hills’ Trevor Drew for the ball Saturday. (Middle photo by Terry McNamara Photography.)

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.