By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Winning the 2009 Division 1 championship was a major accomplishment – of course – for the Portage Central girls soccer program.
But it made a pretty loud statement as well for all of girls soccer on the west side of the state.
While teams from the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo areas had dominated Divisions 3 and 4, and had nice success as well in Division 2 and the former Class B (before the sport went to divisions in 1998), no team from the state’s west side had won the Class or Division of the state’s largest schools since girls soccer became an MHSAA tournament sport in 1983.
Portage Central became the first in 2009 by completing a 27-0-2 run. Shannon Bennett’s header off Taylore Peterson’s corner kick 39 seconds into overtime gave the Mustangs a 3-2 win over Utica Eisenhower in the Final.
To that point, 24 of the first 26 girls soccer championships in Division 1, Class A or the open class (from 1983-86) had been won by schools from Metro Detroit. The other two were won by Saginaw Heritage in 2002 and Ann Arbor Huron in 2008.
The 2009 championship was the second for Portage Central – it previously had won Division 2 in 2000. Bennett went on to play at Robert Morris University, and Peterson played at Illinois.
Click for coverage of the 2009 Final from the Kalamazoo Gazette and watch the winner below from the MHSAA Network.
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 – Feet Rule on Soccer Throw-In - Listen
In basketball, when a player is inbounding the ball, his or her feet have to be behind the line when passing the ball. Their feet can’t be touching the line.
But in soccer, a player just has to be on the line to complete a throw-in – even if their heels are both barely touching the line and the majority of their body is in the field of play.
It is considered a legal soccer throw-in if any part of both feet is either touching the line or behind the line, including if the player does a somersault or front-flip style throw-in. As long as they flip and land with both feet on or behind the line and throw the ball – it’s a legal throw-in.