Gull Lake Stands Tall Again After Shootout

June 12, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

EAST LANSING – The final kicks of 2015 came down to gut feelings for Richland Gull Lake goalkeeper Regan Troff.

She closed her eyes and said a prayer. And then she made saves that extended one of the most impressive championship runs in MHSAA girls soccer history.

After 100 minutes of scoreless play Friday, this season’s Division 2 Final came down to a shootout between two-time reigning champion Gull Lake and Fenton – which was seeking its first MHSAA title in any sport since winning in softball in 1993.

Troff, the team’s first-year starting keeper, considered how her team would react if she succeeded or failed – before saving two of three Fenton kicks as the Blue Devils won the shootout 4-1 and the game 1-0 at Michigan State University’s DeMartin Stadium.

“I was just thinking about how much I love my team,” Troff said. “There’s no better feeling than knowing you have a group of 24-something girls who love you no matter what, whether you mess up, don’t mess up or save the game. They’re always going to be there, and you always have them to fall back on.”

There wasn’t much falling down this spring as the Blue Devils finished 25-1-1 despite graduating a strong group of seniors after last season’s repeat. Gull Lake became the eighth team to win at least three straight MHSAA girls soccer championships (and sixth program; Madison Heights Bishop Foley won three straight on three occasions.).

Troff replaced one of those graduated stars, keeper Maggie Harma, who had 18 shutouts during both the 2013 and 2014 seasons and played in net as a freshman at Wayne State University.

Troff spent part of Thursday’s practice talking with Harma and listening to her mentor’s final words of advice. They didn’t specifically come to mind as Friday’s game went to the shootout. But the theme was the same.

“She just told me to play with all of my heart, no matter what,” Troff said. “And whatever happens, just leave it all on the field because at the end of the day – if you win, or if you lose – you’re still a family no matter what.”

The teams had combined for 37 shots during 100 minutes of play and with each missing on a handful of scoring opportunities.

Troff had five saves and Fenton sophomore Abigail Quesnelle had 10 during regulation. The crossbars could’ve been credited with a few as well.

Gull Lake had won a shootout in the Regional Semifinal, as Troff had two key saves that allowed the Blue Devils to come back from two penalty kicks down and beat Mason.

This time, coach Jeff Corstange reminded his keeper to be patient, make her guess and go with it.

Gull Lake kicked first in the shootout, and senior Hannah Phommavongsa scored. Fenton’s first shot was saved by Troff, and Gull Lake junior Maddie Fouts sent her shot low into the net to make it 2-0. Junior Chloe Foor then scored to pull Fenton within 2-1.

But Gull Lake senior Hayley Buckhout made it 3-1, Troff saved Fenton’s next kick, and senior Annie Walbridge clinched it by connecting on the Blue Devils’ fourth penalty shot.

“Keepers tell you all the time that, oh, they can tell or you can guess it. To  a certain extent you can, but you never know what’s going to happen,” Troff said. “You’re going with that gut feeling that you have, and that’s what I do, and just hope for the best.”

“You never want to lose on PKs,” Corstange added. “I talked to their goalie afterward; she played a tremendous game. And I told her that it’s not the way anyone wants to go out, and I apologized to her. PKs are never fun.” 

Regardless of the loss, it was a historic run for Fenton (15-5-3). The Tigers advanced to the championship game for the first time after making the Semifinals for the third time in seven seasons. 

Just a few inches here and there kept them from instead leaving with their first championship trophy. But they did finish with 11 wins over their final 13 games.

“It’s the way they play. There’s not a team that played harder than us all year,” said Fenton coach Matt Sullivan, who finished his 11th season. “The way these girls treat each other is just so special. I’ve been coaching for a long time, and I’ve never been around anything like this.”

Click for the box score. 

PHOTOS: (Top) Gull Lake players celebrate after a score during Friday’s shootout. (Middle) Fenton’s Brianna Costigan (20) pushes the ball ahead with Kenzie Harney (11) among those defending.

McBain Northern Michigan Christian's VanNoord Building on Career Excellence

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.)