Marian Extends Title, Unbeaten Streaks

June 16, 2018

By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half

WILLIAMSTON – Usually, goals scored during the final minute of a half are considered backbreakers.

But there might have to be new terminology for what Bloomfield Hills Marian’s girls soccer team did in the final minute of the first half of Saturday’s Division 2 Final at Williamston High School.

One backbreaking goal wasn’t enough for Marian, which put its offensive firepower on full display by scoring two over the final 58 seconds of the first half to take a two-goal lead into halftime against Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern. 

That proved to be the big momentum shift, as the Mustangs won their second MHSAA title in a row and seventh since 2003 with a 4-2 victory in what also was a rematch of last season’s championship game. 

“Those were dynamite goals,” Marian head coach Barry Brodsky said. “To come back against us when we are up two is pretty difficult.”

Marian didn’t take long to get on the board, taking a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the game on a goal by sophomore Chloe Aberlarde. She took a pass from Claudia Schilling and found herself alone in front of the Forest Hills Northern goal, burying the chance inside the far post. 

Forest Hills Northern had an answer, tying the game at 1-1 with 14:02 left in the first half on a goal by Elyse DeSchryver, who fired a perfect shot from 30 yards out underneath the crossbar and into the net.

Forest Hills Northern appeared to be in good shape to go into halftime tied, until the Marian magic struck.

First, junior Jansen Eichenlaub got free down the right side of the field, dribbled towards the center of the goal and made no mistake, beating the keeper to make it 2-1 Mustangs with 58 seconds left before the break.

Then, with just 8.5 seconds remaining, senior Annie Bruce fired home a shot to make it 3-1 Marian.

Eichenlaub flicked a service into the box to Bruce’s feet to create the scoring opportunity.

“That got us pumped up,” Eichenlaub said. “We stress about the last five minutes and the first five minutes, so it was really big to win the last five minutes and get those two goals.”

Obviously, Forest Hills Northern was the opposite of pumped up going into halftime. 

“The girls were tired, and we were hoping to get into halftime and regroup a little bit,” Forest Hills Northern head coach Daniel Siminski said. “They got a lot of momentum there, and it’s hard to dig yourself out of a hole like that against a team like Marian.”

The Mustangs scored to make it 4-1 with 32:13 left in the game on another goal by Bruce, who forcefully volleyed home a service into the box on a corner kick by Schilling.

Forest Hills Northern cut Marian’s lead to 4-2 with 29:10 remaining on another goal by DeSchryver, who got off a shot with her left foot from outside the box that once again went under the crossbar.

Marian completed its second consecutive unbeaten season, going 22-0-1 this spring after finishing 24-0 in 2017.

The Mustangs will enter the 2019 season on a 47-game unbeaten streak, with their last loss to Pontiac Notre Dame Prep in a 2016 Semifinal. 

“It’s pretty surreal,” Bruce said. “Usually we just try and stay together, and that’s exactly what we did. It was a team effort.”

It was the third straight loss in the championship game to Oakland County opponents for Forest Hills Northern (19-5-0), which fell to Pontiac Notre Dame Prep in 2016 and Marian in 2017.

Click for the full box score.

VIDEO: Annie Bruce scored twice for Bloomfield Hills Marian – the first goal coming in the closing seconds of the first half.

PHOTOS: (Top) Bloomfield Hills Marian’s Jansen Eichenlaub (9) works to keep possession surrounded by Forest Hills Northern defenders including Carly Andrus (14). (Middle) Forest Hills Northern’s Addie Brown, right, pushes the ball ahead while Marian’s Maria Askounis works to gain control.

'Where is Spring Lake?' They'll Know Now as Lakers Begin Reign Atop D2

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

June 15, 2024

EAST LANSING – Ella Andree and Clara Saunders started recording a three-part Tik Tok on the opening day of Spring Lake’s girls soccer season, knowing that in order to film Parts 2 and 3 they would need to advance to, and win, the MHSAA Division 2 Final.

On Saturday, they finished the video.

Spring Lake defeated Bloomfield Hills Marian 1-0 at DeMartin Stadium to avenge a 2021 championship match loss to the Mustangs and claim the first Finals title in school history.

“If we won, we had it ready,” Andree said. “We did win, so I hope it looks good.

“The start of our season was a little rough, we had a lot of ties, and we didn’t really know where we were going to end up. But we pulled it together and figured out what players needed to do what, and to be here is super crazy.”

Bloomfield Hills Marian’s Clair Dauer (16) and Spring Lake’s Elaina Furton work for possession.Andree assisted Aveya Patino on the game’s lone goal, and goalkeeper Jessica Stewart made four saves behind a stout Spring Lake defense to give coach Becky May her first title in her eighth season coaching at her alma mater. That it came on the campus where May played collegiately only made it more sweet.

“Extremely proud of my girls, but just proud of West Michigan, our community and how we’ve been able to step up and really make a name for ourselves in the soccer world,” May said. “I played on this field in college, so as a homecoming for me, here’s why it’s important: When I got announced the first time I started at Michigan State, they announced me from Spring Lake, Michigan, and the girl next to me said, ‘Where in the world is Spring Lake?’ No one heard of anyone outside the sub(urb)s of Detroit. Well, they’ve heard of us now. So I’m very proud.”

The 2021 championship match appearance was Spring Lake’s first, and that ended with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Marian. Andree, Saunders and Stewart were among the players on the field Saturday who had played in that game as freshmen, and getting another shot at the Mustangs certainly added motivation.

“I feel like to replay the team that you originally lost to is always a great feeling,” Saunders said. “It’s just like a second chance. We have gotten a lot better, and I’m just glad that we made it back here. Especially for my senior year. We came out and did what every team wishes to do, is go all the way, and then we won it. I couldn’t be happier or more proud of this team.”

Saturday’s match was tightly contested, with both teams having long stretches of possession but not creating many big scoring chances.

The one that hit the back of the net started when Andree won a ball in the corner and played it across the goal. Marian keeper Dani Mertz was able to get a hand on it, but not all of it, and Patino was there to clean it up, scoring the 29th goal of her freshman season. It was also the first goal Marian (15-4-3) had allowed during the postseason.

Spring Lake players begin their celebration.“You can’t coach speed, (Patino and Andree are) born with those wheels, and all you have to do as a coach is just put them in the right spot, get them to work together, and they’re just going to be destructive from beginning to end,” May said. “So even when they don’t find the back of the net, they’re putting defenses on their heels and they have to respond to them and react to them. As a result of that, that gives us much more opportunity to possess in the middle of the field. So we put them up top, let them run havoc and then enjoy the benefits of that.”

From there, Spring Lake (17-2-5) stood tall defensively, not allowing the Mustangs to get a great chance to tie the game. With a back three of seniors Ella Rabideau and Brooke Bolthouse and junior Lauren Nicles playing in front of the experienced Stewart, May felt comfortable. Marian, meanwhile, was left frustrated as plenty of second-half possession failed to result in many opportunities. 

“They defended with five,” Marian coach Danny Price said. “I watched the Midland game where they played them in the Regional Final, and both of their outside backs were flying forward and they gave us a ton of space. In the first half, they did the same thing. After they scored their goal, they dropped their outside backs really deep and defended with five, which is what we’ve done in the postseason as well. I’ve got to give them props for that, they defended quite resolutely.”

Price was in his first season at Marian, and took over a young squad, as the Mustangs graduate a strong, but small (four) senior class.

“We’ll be back,” he said. “We’ve got a young squad, and we’ve got tons of freshmen coming in; we’ll just reload. We’ll be back here again.” 

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Spring Lake keeper Jessica Stewart, in green, goes high to get a hand on the ball Saturday at DeMartin Stadium. (Middle) Bloomfield Hills Marian’s Clair Dauer (16) and Spring Lake’s Elaina Furton work for possession. (Below) Spring Lake players begin their celebration.