D3 Soccer Final: Title Crusade Compete

June 16, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

WILLIAMSTON – Flint Powers Catholic attacked Hudsonville Unity Christian’s defense Saturday with a physicality and aggression the Crusaders had not seen this spring in assembling one of the best defensive seasons in MHSAA history.

They’d given up only six goals before the Chargers’ McKenzie Speer put through a shot 2:20 into the first half of their Division 3 championship game at Williamston High. And the Crusaders didn’t respond through the rest of the first half.

“My team was just so excited. We played a little frantic,” Unity Christian senior goalkeeper Holly VanNoord said. “We had to collect ourselves.”

Winning in June has been Unity Christian’s way for more than a decade. And this rematch of the 2011 Final went along with that recent dominance.

The Crusaders scored twice in the second half and held off a number of late Powers runs to claim a 2-1 win and their seventh championship in eight seasons after falling to the Chargers in last year’s title game.

“We just kinda opened our eyes and realized something had to change,” VanNoord said. “Coach just talked to us (at halftime and said) we gotta play together. I guess that was the main key. Once we got our heads on straight, we said we aren’t going to play to lose. We’re going to play to win.”

Unity Christian finished this season without a loss, at 23-0-4. The Crusaders' seven goals against was good to tie for 13th in the MHSAA record book and second only to their 2011 team among those that played 27 games. VanNoord had 20 shutouts, tying her for fourth on that single-season list after she set the MHSAA record with 24 last season.

Powers’ goal also was the first Unity Christian had given up this postseason. But VanNoord’s defense wasn’t the only stellar one on the field. Powers (20-2-4) also hadn’t given up a goal in the postseason until Crusaders sophomore Aubrey Schierbeek tied up the score 9:43 into the second half.

The teams then traded excellent scoring opportunities. Unity Christian freshman Bethany Balcer pushed a roller under diving Powers keeper Heather Rolls with 22:05 to play. But Chargers senior Jessica Adams swooped into the box and stopped the shot.

At 16:27 to play, VanNoord turned away a run. Then Rolls did the same with 15:54 to go.

Powers senior Amanda Bubnar fired a shot hard at the goal with 7:20 left, but VanNoord deflected it over the bar. Three minutes later, Schierbeek deflected a shot to the right of the net.

Freshman Casandra Besteman made all the work pay off with 3:52 to go, taking a throw-in and with a high left leg booted the ball in for the go-ahead goal.

“We have our style. We definitely have our three up top. We didn’t get to play our possession as much as we like to. (But) congratulations to them; they really played a good game,” Powers coach Art Moody said. “It could’ve gone either way. We were just hoping it was our way.”

The teams combined for 22 shots; Rolls saved six and VanNoord saved five.

Rolls finished this season with 19 shutouts, good to tie for seventh in the MHSAA record book for one season.

Click for a full box score.

PHOTO: Unity Christian goalkeeper Holly VanNoord (in orange) goes high to make a save during Saturday's Division 3 Final at Williamston High.

Be the Referee: Soccer Red Card

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

April 16, 2024

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 Red Card - Listen

On the soccer field, number 9 is waiting to sub in for number 4 when number 4 commits a foul worthy of a yellow card. The referee stops play to issue the yellow.

On the way to report the card to the home team’s coach, number 4 uses insulting language toward the referee. What should happen next?

Should the referee ignore the player’s insult? Does number 4 get a red card, and then gets subbed out? Or should number 4 get a red card and number 9 stays on the bench, so their team plays down a player?

If you said a red card and the substitute is not allowed to enter – you are correct. Because the substitute was not yet waved into the game, she cannot enter for an ejected player. They must play down a player the remainder of the contest.

Previous Editions

April 9: Batted Baseball Hits Runner - Listen
March 12: Basketball Replay - Listen
March 5: Hockey Officials - Listen
Feb. 27: Less Than 5 - Listen
Feb. 20: Air Ball - Listen
Feb. 13: Hockey Penalties - Listen
Jan. 30: Wrestling Tiebreakers - Listen
Jan. 23: Wrestling Technology - Listen
Jan. 9: 3 Seconds - Listen
Dec. 19: Unsuspecting Hockey Hits - Listen
Dec. 12: No More One-And-Ones - Listen
Nov. 21: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 14: Volleyball Unplayable Areas - Listen
Nov. 7: Pass/Kick Off Crossbar - Listen
Oct. 31: Cross Country Interference - Listen
Oct. 24: Soccer Overtime - Listen
Oct. 17: Tennis Spin - Listen
Oct. 10: Blocked Kick - Listen
Oct. 3: Volleyball Double & Lift - Listen
Sept. 26: Registration Process - Listen
Sept. 20: Animal Interference - Listen
Sept. 13: Feet Rule on Soccer Throw-In - Listen
Sept. 6: Volleyball Jewelry - Listen
Aug. 30: Football Rules Similarities - Listen
Aug. 23: Football Rules Differences - Listen