Northville = Perfection in D1 Soccer

June 14, 2014

By Mark Meyer
Special for Second Half

WILLIAMSTON – Good things come in twos for Northville girls soccer, but even better in fours.

Like MHSAA championships in 1984, 2004 and now 2014.

The Mustangs completed their perfect 23-0 march to the Division 1 crown Saturday afternoon with a 2-1 victory over Utica Eisenhower.

As they have all season, the Northville senior forward tandem of Megan Buckingham and Jamie Cheslik provided the scoring punch: Buckingham in the first half with assist from Cheslik, who scored unassisted early in the second half after gaining possession deep in the Eagles’ zone.

The Northville defense – which had held opponents to only four goals all season – was perfect until the 31:58 mark of the second half when Eisenhower junior forward Paige Duda cut the lead in half on a shot from just outside the 18-yard line.

The last eight minutes provided a few tense moments for fifth-year Northville coach Eric Brucker, who was an assistant on the 2004 team.

“I told them at halftime that one goal wasn’t going to win it,” Brucker said. “They’ve been scoring four or five per game throughout the playoffs, so we weren’t expecting a 1-0 game.

“We don’t get scored on often, but we’re mentally tough enough to make sure it didn’t happen again.”

Defensively, the Mustangs relied on midfielders Suzie Redick and Alissa Moore to mark Eisenhower forward Isabella Palazzolo, whom Brucker felt was a player who had to be controlled for Northville to be successful.

“We had different players in different roles, and they stepped up to do what needed to be done,” Brucker said. “Our scouting report showed that Palazzolo would be a factor on the left side, and normally it’s hard to mark someone on the outside mid. But Suzie and Alissa did an outstanding job swapping back and forth, trying to take her out of the play.”

The instant offense of Buckingham (23 goals) and Cheslik (33) – both Division I college recruits – was something that made Eisenhower coach Mehrdad Nekoogar uncomfortable.

“They are both great players and knew that we could not afford to make mistakes against them – they would make us pay,” said Nekoogar, whose team finished the season 18-3-1. “That’s what hurt us, a couple of mistakes.

“But we came back, scored and were in it to the end. I expect us to be back next year because we have almost everyone coming back.”

Northville senior captain Ashley Peper, a stalwart on defense for the Mustangs, said the team was loose and relaxed on the bus ride to the game.

“We were all singing; nobody was nervous,” Peper said. “We were so ready for it. We were pumped.

“We’re a second-half team; we know how to use our speed up front to our advantage. We needed to keep going hard. We knew they had come back before and had the ability to score quickly.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Northville’s Jamie Cheslik leaps over the Utica Eisenhower keeper while controlling the ball during Saturday’s Division 1 Final. (Middle) Eisenhower’s Julia Henning (16) works to move the ball past Northville’s Kyra Dahring.

Performance of the Week: Northville's Helena McLellan

June 2, 2023

Helena McLellanHelena McLellan ♦ Northville
Junior ♦ Soccer

McLellan, a standout midfielder, scored twice in Northville's 3-0 win over Belleville on May 22 to clinch the overall Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship. The Mustangs earned the opportunity to play in that game by claiming the KLAA West title with an 11-0-3 record, and they're 15-0-4 heading into Saturday's Division 1 District Final against Livonia Stevenson. 

An accomplished club soccer player, McLellan chose to compete for her high school team this spring for the first time and helped Northville to a No. 2 ranking at the end of the regular season after the Mustangs finished Division 1 runner-up a year ago. Belleville was ranked No. 8 in the final coaches association poll, and McLellan followed up her goals against the Tigers with another in Northville's 3-1 District Semifinal win over Farmington Hills Mercy on Wednesday. 

@mhsaasports ⚽️POW: Helena McLellan #performanceoftheweek #soccer #goals #scored #northville #mustangs #conferencechampions #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

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2022-23 Honorees

May 25: Mitchel Luck, Linden lacrosse - Report
May 18:
Ahava Le Febre, Holland tennis - Report
May 11:
Gracie Maloney, Macomb Dakota softball - Report
May 4:
Braxton Brann, Ann Arbor Huron track & field - Report
April 27:
Owen Patton, Vestaburg track & field - Report
April 20:
Lilly Damm, Millington softball - Report
April 13:
Larissa Huffman, Mackinaw City track & field - Report
April 6:
Darius Acuff, Detroit Cass Tech basketball - Report
March 23:
Regan Finkbeiner, Hemlock basketball - Report
March 16:
Alaina Yaney, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Report
March 9:
Braeden Davis, Dundee wrestling - Report
March 2:
Gabriel Sanchez-Burks, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Feb. 23:
Grace Sobczak, Marquette swimming - Report
Feb. 16:
Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9:
Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2:
Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26:
Shayna Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19:
Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20:
Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16:
Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9:
Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24:
Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17:
Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10:
Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27:
Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20:
Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13:
Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6:
Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30:
Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22:
Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15:
Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8:
Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1:
Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25:
Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report

PHOTO Northville's Helena McLellan steps into a kick during a May 9 draw with Hartland. (Photo by Chris Mudd/National Photo Scout.)