Defense Dazzles as Adams Pulls Away for 1st Finals Victory Since 1999

By Perry A. Farrell
Special for

June 14, 2024

EAST LANSING – Rochester Adams tentatively held onto a one-goal lead in the MHSAA Division 1 girls soccer championship match Friday at Michigan State University’s DeMartin Stadium.

The Highlanders had chance after chance to distance themselves from Hartland, which was being stifled by sophomore goalkeeper Lexi Calcamuggio.

Junior Sadie Rogers had one of those chances, and whiffed on a shot. But she did find the net with 4:39 to play, and Adams went on to claim its third Finals championship with a 2-0 victory.

“My only thought was to help the team out as much as possible,’’ said Rogers, a junior. “I knew this season I was more of an assister. I had the chance, so I took it. I was definitely frustrated in the beginning that my chances weren’t going where I wanted them, but I just kept at it.’’

Adams (16-2-2) came into the Final seeking its first Division 1 championship since 1999. The Highlanders also won Class A in 1992, and its two runner-up finishes came during that decade as well.

Highlanders keeper Lexi Calcamuggio boots the ball.Hartland (16-4-3) had won Division 1 as recently as 2021, and this spring finished first in the Kensington Lake Activities Association West with a 10-1-3 record while Adams was second in the Oakland Activities Association at 3-2-1. 

Both teams missed on early scoring chances Friday until senior Adams Evelyn Kekhoua took a pass from Danielle Danko and scored with 23 minutes, 46 seconds on the clock to give their team a 1-0 lead.

“I felt we exploded after that,’’ said Kekhoua. “It built up the confidence.’’

With trouble getting the ball out of its own end, Hartland had few chances to tie the score during the first half. Early in the second, Calcamuggio made a spectacular save on a shot by Josie Cheyne to keep the Highlanders ahead.

“I’m so proud of our defense. They are like a brick wall out there,’’ said Calcamuggio. “I owe it to them; they did a good job.

“There was one side of the net open, so I knew where (Cheyne) was going. I tried to trust it and put my body against the ball and it hit me. My defense is so good, they kept everyone under wraps.’’

Calcamuggio entered this week with a 0.70 goals-against average and seven shutouts. 

Danko also assisted on Rogers’ goal.

“On the first goal I saw Evelyn on my right, and I knew I could get a cross to her and I knew she could put it in. That’s where my target was. She came through,” Danko said. “The second one I drove down the line and cut it back, and Sadie was yelling ‘Danny, Danny.’ I passed it to her and she buried the second one. It gives you the cushion.’’

Said Adams coach Josh Hickey: “Danielle is such a special player.’’

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Hartland’s Addie Frantti (14) and Adams’ Catherine Delikat contend for possession during Friday’s Division 1 Final. (Middle) Highlanders keeper Lexi Calcamuggio boots the ball.