Elk Rapids Avenges, Adds to Perfection

June 7, 2016

By Dennis Chase
Special for Second Half

ELK RAPIDS – For the seniors, Elk Rapids’ 8-0 District championship win over Leland on Saturday was overdue.

“Three years overdue,” senior outside midfielder Nicole Hill said.

After losing in the District Finals three consecutive years, the unbeaten Elks broke through in convincing fashion, outscoring their three District foes by a combined 24-1 to advance to Wednesday’s MHSAA Division 4 Regional in Mount Pleasant.

“We knew we had a stronger team this year and that we could do it,” senior forward Carley Patterson said. “We dominated.”

Dominated is the appropriate word as Elk Rapids kicked it up a gear in improving to 21-0. Just a week earlier, the Elks became the first soccer team in school history – boys or girls – to finish the regular season unbeaten. That’s noteworthy, considering the boys won back-to-back Division 4 titles in 1997-98 and finished runner-up in 1989, 1995 and 1996.

“It’s a great accomplishment, but it also makes us a huge target,” girls coach Andrea Krakow said.

Elk Rapids is ranked No. 2 in the coaches’ association poll heading into its Regional opener with Ravenna. If the Elks had any doubters, they’ve been silenced.

“They’re getting their due now,” Suttons Bay coach Tom Spencer said. “I don’t think they got a lot of recognition early. I had my doubts until I saw them play (an 8-0 Elks win in mid-May). They’re the best team we played this season.

“They play solid, sound soccer. They’ve got talent everywhere. Tough backline, great attack and they move the ball all over the field. They all touch the ball and they all come at you – and keep it away from their goal.”

Need proof? The Elks have scored 115 goals and surrendered 11.

“We all work together as a team,” Patterson said. “We’re all really good friends, not just on the field, but off, too.”

“Our team is really connected,” Hill added.

It’s made for an enjoyable season for Krakow, now in her 10th year as head coach.

“This is the most talented team I’ve had,” she said. “What I like is that every girl on this team wants to be here playing soccer. Nothing else. When they show up at practice it’s like, ‘What can we do to get better?’

“Even the girls that may not get as much field time are out there supporting the others. They all share a common goal. They want to succeed.”

The Elks have won 19 of their 21 games by two or more goals. And they’ve accomplished that run facing a perennially-tough Lake Michigan Conference schedule, plus a nonleague slate that included games against three teams from the Big North Conference.

“We’ve proven ourselves,” Patterson said.

One Lake Michigan foe, Harbor Springs, is in the Regional, too. The Elks posted 3-1 and 4-3 victories over the Rams.

Krakow returned 10 players off a team that went 15-5-1 last season. She added five talented freshmen and German exchange student Friedi Hicking.

“I thought we would have a strong team, adding the incoming freshmen (to the mix),” Krakow said. “We’ve been competitive every year. We just haven’t been at the top.”

In Saturday’s District title win, the Elks limited Leland to one shot. The Comets featured the state’s all-time leading scorer in Libby Munoz.

It was a “revenge” win for Elk Rapids. Leland beat the Elks 2-1 in last year’s District Final. The two teams met earlier this season with Elk Rapids posting a 6-1 win.

“We knew we were the better team coming in, and the score showed it,” Hill said.

The 8-0 decision was the 13th shutout for the Elks, who have given up only 76 shots on goal all season.

The defense includes the Wagner sisters, Alexa and Cailey. Alexa is a senior goalie who is in her second year in the program. A three-sport athlete, she previously played softball in the spring. Cailey, a junior sweeper, is a three-year starter and the “voice” on the back line.

“She directs our defense,” Krakow said.

Freshmen Kendall Brown, Kyla Pryde and Natalie Graf are instrumental, too. Brown and Pryde play on the outside where they can use their quickness to get to the ball. On Saturday, Krakow put Graf at the top of the defense to mark Munoz.

“She normally plays outside mid, but when we have an offensive threat against us we’ll put her in that man-to-man role,” Krakow said. “She’s able to anticipate, deny the ball. We held Libby to no goals twice, so that says a lot about (Graf’s) play.”

Heather Brothers normally plays at the top of the diamond defensively, but the sophomore moved to center midfield Saturday. She’s a two-year starter.

On the attack, the Elks are led by Patterson, the girls program’s all-time leading scorer. She had three goals and an assist Saturday to raise her season totals to 42 goals and 15 assists. For her career, the senior has tallied 106 goals with close to 50 assists.

“She has a nose for the ball,” Krakow said. “She has a great shot and is a good distributor. She plays team ball. She’s very unselfish.”

Hill is the second-leading scorer with 14 goals and 16 assists. Sophomore Nikki Hayes is right behind with 15 goals and 12 assists, although she sprained an ankle Saturday.

In addition, sophomore Clare Klein is a quick, offensive-minded center midfielder, who netted two goals in the District clincher.  Senior Jordan McNamara and Hicking are threats as well.

“When she gets her foot on the ball, it’s like a rocket,” Krakow said of Hicking. “We tease her because she’s never taken a left-footed shot during a game and will always try to put the ball on her right. (Saturday night) she took a left-footed shot and nailed it.”

Much like Elk Rapids has nailed this season.

Dennis Chase worked 32 years as a sportswriter at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, including as sports editor from 2000-14. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS: The Elk Rapids girls soccer team poses with its Division 4 District championship trophy Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Tammy Hill.)

McBain Northern Michigan Christian's VanNoord Building on Career Excellence

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

May 13, 2024

Jada VanNoord entered her senior season this spring on the MHSAA girls soccer career goal list with 108 over her first three seasons at McBain Northern Michigan Christian, and after scoring 40 with 63 total points in 2023.

She also was just shy of making the career points list after making the single-season list as a sophomore with 52 in 2022.

VanNoord has signed to continue her career at Cornerstone University.

See below for more recent additions to the girls soccer record book, and click the heading to see the record book in full.  

Girls Soccer

Sophomore Macy Freeman became the first from Otisville LakeVille Memorial to be listed in the girls soccer record book when she scored all eight goals in her team’s win over Flint Carman-Ainsworth on April 29, 2022, and she was added for the second-highest scoring game in history with 10 goals last May 12 against Marlette. Freeman also was added for 43 goals total as a sophomore and 39 as a junior, and she entered this season on the career goals list as well with 81.

Brighton Charyl Stockwell’s Cassie Hall earned a pair of record book entries for her offensive performance as a junior in 2022. She made the single-season goals list with 55 and single-season points list with 60.

Although her 224 saves as a senior in 2022 fell just shy of making the single-season list, Parchment goalkeeper Gabrielle Novak finished her career with 713 over three seasons and 51 games – with 2020 canceled because of COVID-19. She was joined that spring by senior Kasey Leckie, who made the single-season goals list with 32.

Grace Hewitt became the first West Michigan Aviation Academy player to be listed for career goals, as she tallied 75 from 2019-22 (with 2020 canceled). She also was added for 32 as a senior.

Remus Chippewa Hills’ Karley Densmore made 36 saves against Big Rapids on April 25, 2022, tied for fifth-most in one match, and her 292 over 17 games for the season rank third. Additionally, teammate Hayley Gomber was added for five assists in a game against Mason County Central on April 7, 2022. Both were juniors.

Kelila Rustin made the single-season saves list in 2022 with 251 over 17 games. She was a sophomore at Ionia.

Allison Johnson earned Howard City Tri County’s first girls soccer record book entry in 2021, scoring 30 goals over 19 games. She graduated in 2023.

Schoolcraft’s Hannah Thompson totaled 18 record book entries over three varsity seasons, despite missing her sophomore year which was canceled due to COVID-19. The 2022 graduate five times had a single-game high of eight goals, and as a senior she bested her state record for points with 99 – despite falling just a few goals short of her state record in that category, with a second-place 83. She finished with 130 goals, second all-time, over a combined 54 games, and a fifth-highest 240 points. She’s playing at Eastern Michigan.

Sterling Heights 2023 graduate Mikalah Lewis earned a pair of record book entries over her final two seasons. The first was for 34 goals as a junior in 2022, and she tied for third-most assists in a game on April 10 of last season with six against Center Line.

Lily Usher capped her three-year varsity career at Owosso last spring with 60 more saves than anyone over a career in MHSAA history. She tops that list with 773 over 49 games, with her 268 as a junior in 2022 added as well – and that season she also tied her single-game high with 35.

Layne Palmer had one of the busiest goalkeeping nights in MHSAA history April 21, 2023, when she saved 43 shots from Utica Ford during a 6-0 loss. The Port Huron senior’s saves remain tied for third-most for one game.

Grace Graham capped her Laingsburg career in 2021 by leading the Wolfpack to its first Regional Final appearance – and made the record book for 39 goals and also 51 total points.

Cheboygan’s Kenzie Burt is playing college basketball at Aquinas College, but she left her mark on her high school soccer program as a senior in 2023. Burt made the record book with 33 goals and 53 points total.

Jessica Peters earned Dryden’s first girls soccer entry since 2012 with 48 goals as a senior in 2023, over 19 games. She’s continuing at St. Clair County Community College.

Lydia Kruis and Litzy Ramirez capped their three-season Comstock varsity careers last year with performances among the best all-time in the sport. Among 10 record book entries, Kruis was added for 74 goals (third all-time) and 83 points (sixth) as a senior and 158 goals for her career (ninth). Her eight goals last May 17 against Buchanan tied for fourth-most in one game. Ramirez graduated with seven record book listings, with her six assists against Buchanan that game tied for third-most with her 47 for the season setting the MHSAA record. Her 86 career assists tied for ninth.

Jaidyn Veldhouse led Grandville Calvin Christian to another successful run last spring. A senior now, she made record lists with 37 goals and 52 points as the Squires finished 17-1-3. She will continue at Saginaw Valley State.

Isabella Pool’s junior season last spring included a highlight against Marshall. Although her Coldwater team took a 5-0 loss, Pool saved 39 shots – fifth-most for one match in MHSAA history.

Lutheran Westland added its second athlete to this record book, and first since 2005, as Madilyn Webb finished her three-season varsity career with 48 goals and 53 points last spring and 105 goals over her three seasons. She also scored 33 goals as a junior and seven in one game against Brighton Charyl Stockwell Academy. She’s continuing at Concordia-Ann Arbor.

PHOTO McBain Northern Michigan Christian's Jada VanNoord (20) steps into a kick during a May 1 game against Clare. (Photo courtesy of the Cadillac News.)