Powers Charges On After Milestone Win

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

May 25, 2018

Art Moody practices what he preaches.

His sermon often reiterates the common sports mantra of taking things one game at a time. So as he was about to finish off win No. 200 as girls soccer coach at Flint Powers Catholic last week, he saw it as it was, a regular-season victory against Flint Carman-Ainsworth.

“I didn’t have any idea,” said Moody, who earned that 200th win May 17. “I didn’t think I would (get to 200) this year. I kind of have a motto and we’ve been going by it for quite a while with the girls, and that’s to make sure they take it one game at a time, and I think that’s kind of how I went, too. We make sure to look at one game, and when the next games comes, if we learn from the game we just had, we can bring it to the next game and we’re going to be successful.”

Success has been a common theme during Moody’s 11-year run at Powers, as he’s compiled a 201-41-20 record in his 11 seasons, which includes a 16-1-3 mark this season for the reigning MHSAA Division 3 champions. The Chargers have won a pair of state titles under Moody (2011 and 2017) and have advanced to five Division 3 Finals.

“When we looked at this year coming up, the question everyone had on their mind was, ‘Can you repeat?’” Moody said. “We had the same thing happen when we won the state championship in 2011 and we came back in 2012 ranked No. 1. It’s kind of funny, because at that time, I got my 100th win, so it’s kind of ironic and history is almost repeating itself with my 200th win following a state championship year. We have little goals, and getting an amount of wins isn’t something I look at as a personal goal. It’s more of a team goal. So it was a surprise, but a good surprise.”

Moody is a New Jersey native who played collegiately at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He coached at Lapeer West High School before taking over the Saginaw Valley State University men’s program in 2006. He’s also coached the Powers boys, and at the club level.

“Definitely my highlight is with my girls at Powers,” he said.

Powers has averaged 18 wins per season since Moody took over in 2008, reaching 20 or more wins on five occasions. Never in Moody’s 11 seasons have the Chargers had a losing record.

The Chargers have won 10 District titles, eight conference titles and seven Regional titles. A run at an 11th District title begins Tuesday at home against Corunna.

Moody took over a successful program that had reached the Finals three times between 2000 and 2007, including the year prior to Moody coming on board. But he’s taken the Chargers to new heights, as the 2011 title was their first.

“(Former coach Tom Anagnost) had those girls getting very competitive, and he had that program kind of getting up there,” Moody said. “Tom definitely introduced Powers soccer into a successful program, so when I got it it was good timing, and I’ve continued his legacy.”

Assistant coach Jeff Tippett, who has been on Moody’s staff all 11 years, said Powers has played mostly attacking soccer under Moody, but that his formations and strategies can change based on personnel, which has made him so successful.

“It’s just Art’s coaching style; he’s got a great coaching style,” Tippett said. “He relies a lot on his assistants. Between myself and Mike Korhonen, he’s very inclusive of us in his gameplan and his coaching philosophy, and I think that helps a lot. Art’s just a good strategist, he can see the game really well, he can read the players really well, and he can put together a lot of things out of what he has to work with.”

Moody also has had plenty of talent to work with, as any successful high school coach would need. One former player, Ally Haran, went to Wake Forest University and was drafted by the Seattle Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League this past January. She’s currently playing professionally in Iceland.

“Once in a while, we do get a couple very, very talented soccer players that can play at the next level, and it’s great to have them come out,” Moody said. “But we also get that other type, we get that great athlete who plays three sports, who plays basketball and then decides to play soccer. They’re not going to play college soccer, but we’re getting them to play at a high level and love the game. That’s more of a delight to me.”

Record-wise, this year’s team is one of Moody’s best, and while he wouldn’t flat out say it’s a team capable of repeating as Division 3 champion, he did say it’s capable of competing at a high level. The Chargers’ lone loss this season came against Grand Blanc, the No. 5 team in Division 1.

He said the team is playing with a target on its back, which is typical for Flint Powers teams in most every sport as the school’s history of athletic success is well known throughout the state. But for Moody’s soccer program, it’s become a little more pronounced, and he’s fine with that.

“They come in the first day of tryouts and that’s the first conversation we have is about expectations and how much heart and determination you have to have to get to that level,” Moody said. “Teams want us pretty bad, and they know if they can beat us, sometimes that’s a successful season for them. It’s something we’ve learned how to deal with. It’s definitely a challenge, and the girls have accepted it. It’s a double-edged sword, because that pressure is definitely something they do have to deal with. But it’s a good problem to have.”

Paul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Flint Powers Catholic girls soccer coach Art Moody, far left, prepares to accept the Division 3 championship trophy last June. (Middle) Moody confers with one of his players during that title-clinching win over Freeland.

Williams Returns as Hudsonville Seeks Next Step in Pursuit of 1st Finals Title

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com

April 19, 2024

HUDSONVILLE – It was a long eight months for Hudsonville’s Cadence Williams.

West MichiganThe junior standout tore the ACL in her right knee in October 2022 and was forced to miss last season, including the Eagles’ tournament run that saw them finish Division 1 runners-up.

“Last year was probably one of the hardest things I've been through,” Williams said. “It's hard to see the field through a different perspective and just looking at the different things that go on in your life personally.

“I don’t think I would’ve wanted anyone else by my side during that time as far as my teammates and coaches. I could not have done it without their support.”

Williams was playing in a club game with the Michigan Rangers when the injury occurred. She knew the severity immediately. 

“I was running and I changed direction, and right away I figured I knew what it was because I was the fifth person on my club team to do it,” Williams said. “I knew it was going to be a long road from there, but I could only think of the glass half-full and do what I could to get back.”

Hudsonville coach Holly VanNoord felt badly for Williams, especially after she had an immediate impact on the team as a freshman.

“It was super tough because we had so much momentum going because she had a great freshman year,” VanNoord said. “It's hard to impact the varsity level being a freshman, and I thought the way she started from the way she finished … it was just a compliment to the work she put in. We were excited going into sophomore year, so it was that much harder to hear the news when she tore her ACL.”

As difficult as it was for Williams to watch her teammates achieve success without her being able to contribute, VanNoord said Williams remained positive and continued to support them.

Kendall Aikens (15) maintains possession during last season’s Division 1 Final.“It shows a lot about her character because she constantly put the team in front of her personal emotions amongst her injury and never let it affect the team,” she said. “She continued to pour into others despite what she was going through, and that is what I’m proud of her most.”

The injury took its toll, but Williams took it in stride.

“It was physically demanding, but it was also challenging mentally,” she said. “But when I look back, I wouldn't change a single thing that I did to end up where I am today.”

Williams returned to the field late last summer, rejoining her club team. She’s thrilled to be back playing the game she loves and eager to help this year’s Hudsonville team duplicate last year’s success.

The Eagles advanced to their first Division 1 Final before suffering a disappointing 2-1 loss to Rochester Hills Stoney Creek.

“It feels wonderful (to be back playing),” Williams said. “I’m lucky that I have an opportunity to be on a team like this, and I couldn't wait for this season and to see how far we can go.

“I think we are very motivated, and we’re always looking for things to do to get better. I feel like every game we step on the field we just want to win.” 

It turned out to be a triumphant return for Williams in her first game this high school season. She scored two goals in a win over Plainwell.

“She had a great start, and she’s creating opportunities for us,” VanNoord said. “It’s been a great comeback season for her so far, and she is just a powerhouse. She works super hard, and it’s fun for me to see that her motivation is higher than ever.

“I think having that year off and being on the sidelines was super tough, but I think there are a lot of areas of growth and even just gratefulness. She can appreciate the game so much more, and it's probably easier for her to work hard just because she's motivated and fueled up more than ever.”

Williams is an important piece on a talented Hudsonville team currently ranked No. 1 in the state after a 5-0-1 start.

Other key returnees include seniors Kendall Aikens and Adelyn Raad, both four-year varsity players, senior keeper Reid DeGoede and sophomore Lauren Moylan.

Lauren Moylan steps into a kick last season. The Eagles, who graduated six seniors last spring, tied Forest Hills Central and opened Ottawa-Kent Conference Red play this week with a 4-0 win over Grand Haven.

“We had a tough start to our schedule, and we did that on purpose because we wanted a challenge,” VanNoord said. “We want to be one of the best teams in the state, so we have to compete against the best teams in the state. We’re happy with our wins, and even tying FHC made us a better team.”

Hudsonville finished 19-3-2 a year ago and is using the Finals loss as motivation.

“I think now that we got to the state Finals, the girls know what it takes,” VanNoord said. “I think last year they were excited to just get to the Finals, and I think losing put a bitterness in their mouth. They are more motivated than ever to get there, and they know they are going to have to work twice as hard because the Division 1 level is a constant battle.”

This year’s team is loaded with talent from top to bottom. The Eagles lean on a stout defense while possessing an array of playmakers.

“That’s what is so fun; they are very versatile,” VanNoord said. “From the backline of the goalkeeping all the way to the forwards. We just have so much talent and athleticism, and the girls are so willing to be coached and put their heads down and work.

“They are great kids, on and off the field, and culture is a big thing for us. Their buy-in has played a huge factor in our overall success.”

Williams believes this year’s team has the ability to make another extended postseason run.

“I think we have a lot of potential, and we’re still getting used to things and getting used to everyone on the team,” she said. “We play really well together, and hopefully we can make it just as far and hopefully pull out a win for a championship.”

Dean HolzwarthDean Holzwarth has covered primarily high school sports for Grand Rapids-based WOOD-TV for five years after serving at the Grand Rapids Press and MLive for 16 years along with shorter stints at the Ionia Sentinel and WZZM. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties. 

PHOTOS (Top) Hudsonville’s Cadence Williams (21) works to get a foot on the ball during a 2022 game against Byron Center. (Middle) Kendall Aikens (15) maintains possession during last season’s Division 1 Final. (Below) Lauren Moylan steps into a kick last season. (Top photo courtesy of the Hudsonville girls soccer program; middle photo by Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)