Moment: VanDyke Wins Race to End Title Chase

May 7, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Maddy VanDyke already was known to be one of the state’s top soccer players – after graduating from Hudsonville Unity Christian, she went on to start most of four seasons for Michigan State.

But she also showed at the end of her last MHSAA Final to be quite a sprinter.

VanDyke picked up an incredibly-placed pass from Bethany Balcer and raced half the field and past two Detroit Country Day defenders to send home the overtime game-winner in the Division 3 Final on June 12, 2015, to give Unity a 2-1 win.

Country Day had scored the game’s first goal 18 minutes in and led until Unity evened things up with 17 minutes to play in regulation.

With just more than four minutes left in overtime, VanDyke picked up Balcer’s long pass just past midfield. She pushed her winning shot past a deflection by Country Day keeper Isabel Nino, who made the record book with 13 saves that game after also making 13 when the teams met in the 2014 Final, also a Unity win. Nino went on to play at University of Michigan.

Click for coverage from Second Half and see below for the game winner from the NFHS Network.

Preview: Championship Rematch Among Headliners at DeMartin Stadium

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

June 13, 2024

The return of two reigning champions and a rematch of last year’s Division 3 title match are just the start of headlines emerging from this weekend’s MHSAA Girls Soccer Finals at DeMartin Stadium.

There should be some familiarity this weekend for most contenders as six of the final eight teams have reached the season’s final weekend at least once since 2021 – including Hudsonville Unity Christian and Grosse Ile, which played to a 3-0 Crusaders win a year ago, and Kalamazoo Christian which is seeking a repeat as well.

Three teams are seeking a first championship, and a fourth its first this century.

Following is this weekend’s schedule:

Division 1 - Friday - 4 p.m.
Hartland vs. Rochester Adams

Division 2 - Saturday - 4 p.m.
Spring Lake vs. Bloomfield Hills Marian

Division 3 - Saturday - 1 p.m.
Hudsonville Unity Christian vs. Grosse Ile

Division 4 - Friday - 1 p.m.
Kalamazoo Christian vs. Jackson Lumen Christi

Tickets cost $11 and may be purchased online only at GoFan. One ticket is good for all soccer, softball and baseball games at MSU’s Old College Field that day. All four Finals will be broadcast and available with subscription from, with free audio broadcasts on the MHSAA Network.

Below is a glance at all eight teams taking the field, with statistics through Regionals:

Division 1

Record/rank: 16-3-3, No. 11
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West
 Andrew Kartsounes, 19th season (230-91-52)
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2021.
Players to watch:
 Alyse Daavettila, sr. F/M (12 goals, 6 assists); Addie Frantti, jr. F/M (9 goals, 8 assists); Paige Sundman, soph. F (10 goals, 3 assists); Jenna Brock, jr. GK (0.95 goals-against average, 9 shutouts).
Outlook: Hartland suffered one of its lone losses this spring to Livonia Stevenson in the regular-season finale, but bounced right back to win a third District and second Regional championship in four seasons. The only other defeats came in the season opener to Salem and in late April to No. 10 Midland Dow, and the Eagles earned a win and draw with No. 9 Canton in league play. Daavettila made the all-state third team last season. Midfielder Emma Kastamo is another of four senior starters and had five goals and seven assists entering the week.

Record/rank: 15-2-2, No. 6
League finish: Second in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: Josh Hickey, seventh season (77-29-16)
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 1999), two runner-up finishes.
Players to watch:
 Lexi Calcamuggio, soph. GK (0.70 goals-against average, 7 shutouts); Evelyn Kekhoua, sr. F (12 goals, 4 assists); Danielle Danko, sr. M (10 goals, 6 assists); Sadie Rogers, jr. M (11 goals, 8 assists).
Outlook: After reaching its first Semifinal since 2012, Adams is headed to the Finals for the first time since its most recent championship season of 1999. An overtime win over No. 3 Troy in their Regional Final has highlighted this run, with Troy having handed the Highlanders their first loss in early April. The other defeat came against No. 9 Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, and Adams rebounded quickly and picked up late regular-season wins over Dow (5-0) and No. 12 Troy Athens (4-1). Rogers earned an all-state honorable mention last season.

Division 2

Record/rank: 15-3-3, No. 8
League finish: First in Catholic High School League Central
Coach: Danny Price, first season (15-3-3)
Championship history: 10 MHSAA titles (most recent 2021), three runner-up finishes.
Players to watch:
 Dani Mertz, sr. GK (0.53 goals-against average, 14 shutouts); Nia Bordogna, fr. M (5 goals, 10 assists); Olivia Zahnow, sr. D; Clair Dauer, soph. M (15 goals, 2 assists).
Outlook: Marian missed the Finals last season for the first time since 2016 (not counting COVID-canceled 2020), but have returned under Price, who played professionally in England and also has coached Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice’s boys team since 2019. He inherited plenty of talent; Dauer made the all-state second team last season, Zahnow made the third team, and Mertz, junior defender Nadia Valka, sophomore defender/forward Lily Robinson and junior forward Bella Musachio all earned honorable mentions. The second-leading scorer is sophomore forward Giulianna Agrusso (10 goals, 3 assists) and three more players were next with five goals apiece entering this week. The Mustangs have not allowed a goal over six postseason games, a run that included avenging their most recent loss, to Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood. The other defeats came to Okemos and No. 11 Mason.

Record/rank: 16-2-5, No. 1
League finish: Second in Ottawa-Kent Conference Blue
Coach: Becky May, eighth season (118-17-13)
Championship history: Division 2 runner-up 2021.
Players to watch:
 Jessica Stewart, sr. GK (0.76 goals-against average, 10 shutouts); Ella Andree, sr. F (12 goals, 6 assists); Clara Saunders, sr. M (10 goals, 16 assists); Aveya Patino, fr. F (27 goals, 7 assists).
Outlook: Spring Lake earned this return to the Finals for the second time in four seasons in part by defeating No. 7 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central and No. 3 Midland in its Regional, and its only losses were to Division 3 top-ranked Hudsonville Unity Christian and No. 4 Grand Rapids South Christian. The Lakers then came back to earn a draw with Unity in the league tournament championship game. Saunders made the all-state first team last season, Andree and Stewart made the second team and senior defender Brooke Bolthouse earned an honorable mention.

Division 3

Record/rank: 17-2-5, No. 5
League finish: Second in Huron League
Coach: Kyle Lesperance, sixth season (80-17-14)
Championship history: Division 3 runner-up 2023.
Players to watch:
 Addison Nemeth, sr. D; Cassidy Eblin, sr. M (8 goals, 18 assists); Alaina Korody, jr. D (8 goals, 4 assists); Mallory Botten, jr. F (20 goals, 21 assists).
Outlook: After several successful seasons, Grosse Ile broke through last year to make the Finals for the first time – and will now play for a first championship again in a rematch of last season’s title game. The Red Devils defeated No. 12 Detroit Country Day to advance, and their only losses were to Division 1 No. 4 Saline and Division 2 No. 10 New Boston Huron. Korody and Eblin made the all-state third team last season, and Nemeth earned honorable mention. Junior Monica Arndt is giving up only 1.06 goals per game in net, with 11 shutouts heading into the week.

Record/rank: 21-1-1, No. 1
League finish: First in O-K Blue
Coach: Randy Heethuis, 35th season (641-105-42)
Championship history: 11 MHSAA titles (most recent 2023), four runner-up finishes.
Players to watch:
 Vivian Nagelkirk, sr. F/M (22 goals, 8 assists); Ava Lutke, jr. F (18 goals, 15 assists); Anna Newhof, sr. GK (0.50 goals-against average, 9 shutouts); Kyle Kobrzycki, fr. F/M (13 goals, 9 assists).
Outlook: Unity just keeps rolling, with this weekend providing an opportunity to repeat as a champion for the first time since winning three straight Division 3 titles from 2014-16. Lutke made the all-state first team last season, but the Crusaders replaced seven graduates who also earned all-state honors and this spring still lost only to Division 1 No. 1 Hudsonville (and by just a goal). In addition to those listed above, five more players entered this week with at least six goals or five assists, or both. They have yet to allow a goal in the playoffs with wins over No. 4 Grand Rapids South Christian, No. 10 Grand Rapids West Catholic and No. 14 Freeland highlighting the run.

Division 4

Record/rank: 13-7, unranked
League finish: Eighth in CHSL AA
Coach: Blake Newman-Gillig, fourth season (42-31-4)
Championship history: Division 4 runner-up 2000.
Players to watch:
 Codi Ruge, soph. F (16 goals, 4 assists); Paityn Petitto, jr. F (9 goals, 9 assists); Izzy Ermatinger, sr. GK (1.80 goals-against average, 7 shutouts); Kathleen Doane, jr. D (6 goals, 2 assists).
Outlook: Lumen Christi went from unranked to Regional champion for the first time since 2007, and has taken another step as well allowing only one goal over six postseason games including wins over No. 5 Manchester, No. 8 Auburn Hills Oakland Christian and a Regional Final victory over Royal Oak Shrine Catholic that avenged a 5-0 regular-season defeat. Doane made the all-state second team last season, and Ruge earned an honorable mention. Senior forward Brooke Lefere had added eight goals heading into this week.

Record/rank: 18-4-2, No. 6
League finish: Tied for first in Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley
Coach: Jay Allen, 11th season (181-35-8)
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2023), four runner-up finishes.
Players to watch:
 Emily Gorton, soph. (11 goals, 5 assists); Izzy Suloff, soph. (16 goals, 4 assists); Jordyn Bonnema, jr. (12 goals, 4 assists); Elizabeth Netz, sr. GK (12 shutouts).

Outlook: After four runner-up finishes over a five-season span heading into last year’s Final, Kalamazoo Christian won its first championship since 2008 and now will seek what would be a third repeat in program history. This run has been highlighted by wins over No. 7 Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian and No. 10 Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep – and shared the SAC Valley title after drawing with the latter during the regular season. The Comets also own a 2-1 win over Jackson Lumen Christi from May 2.

PHOTO Unity Christian’s Vivian Nagelkirk (3) and Grosse Ile’s Olivia Zuccaro contend for the ball during last season’s Division 3 Final.