Preview: Champs Seek to Extend Streaks

June 11, 2015

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The setting is new – at least somewhat – as the MHSAA Girls Soccer Finals return to Michigan State University this spring for the first time since 2012. The format is new, as two Finals will be played Friday and Saturday. 

But most of the favorites are familiar as three teams compete to repeat as champions.

Grandville Calvin Christian is playing for its fourth straight title in Division 4, while Richland Gull Lake is looking to make it three straight in Division 2 and Hudsonville Unity Christian is playing for its second straight title but ninth total overall.

The narrative is the opposite in Division 1, where both teams are playing for the first title in program history.

Below is this weekend’s schedule, followed by glances at all eight finalists.

Hudsonville Unity Christian vs. Detroit Country Day, 1 p.m.
Richland Gull Lake vs. Fenton, 4 p.m.

Grandville Calvin Christian vs. Lansing Christian, 1 p.m.
Saline vs. Grand Blanc, 4 p.m.

Tickets cost $8 per day and include admission to baseball and softball games that day also at MSU’s Old College Field. Radio broadcasts of all games can be heard online at All games will be streamed live online at MHSAA.TV and viewable on subscription basis.

All statistics below are through at least the regular season, with most through teams' Regionals. (Click for links to brackets and scores.)


18-5-5, unranked
Coach: Greg Kehler, 17th season (260-80-47)
League finish: Third in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West.
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2004.
Players to watch: Annie Walker, sr. F (29 goals, 10 assists), Lara Wheeler, fr. F (17 goals, 5 assists); Amy Puidokas, jr. GK (0.60 goals-against average, 8 shutouts).
Outlook: Grand Blanc is on its best tournament run since making the Semifinals in 2005 after eliminating No. 1 Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, No. 10 Northville and then No. 5 Troy Athens in its last three games. Walker made the all-state first team last season and is again the scorer to stop, with 2014 all-state honorable mention Lexi Trudeau, a junior, among those moving the ball into striking position.

21-0-3, No. 6
Coach: Dana Restrick, sixth season (record at school N/A)
League finish: First in Southeastern Conference Red.
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Players to watch: Sofia Sweier, sr. GK (0.17 goals-against average, 20 shutouts); Taylor Mulder, sr. F (41 goals, 11 assists); Amanda Zylstra, sr. D (3 goals, 5 assists).
Outlook: Saline is 40-3-6 over the last two seasons and won its first Regional title last week. No. 3 East Kentwood in the Quarterfinal was the eighth straight opponent to be shut out by the Hornets, who have given up only four goals this season. Sweier and Zylstra made the all-state second team last season, and Mulder made the third.


15-4-3, honorable mention
Coach: Matt Sullivan, 11th season (record at school N/A)
League finish: Second in Flint Metro League.
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Players to watch: Brennan Sullivan, sr. M (1 goal, 3 assists); Brianna Costigan, jr. M (9 goals, 11 assists); Abigail Quesnelle, soph. GK (0.60 goals-against average, 14 shutouts).
Fenton has reached the Semifinals three of the last seven seasons, but after two one-goal heartbreak losses that ended those first two trips, broke through by beating No. 6 Trenton this week. The Tigers also eliminated No. 4 Warren Regina and No. 8 Linden during the tournament and have won 11 of their last 12 games. Fenton scored 26 goals during the regular season, but has put 17 in the net in six tournament games. Costigan made the all-state second team last season, and Sullivan earned an honorable mention.

24-1-1, No. 2
Coach: Jeff Corstange, fourth season (82-8-4)
League finish: First in Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference East.
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2014), four runner-up finishes.
Players to watch: Hannah Phommavongsa, sr. F (16 goals, 8 assists); Amanda Pavletic, sr. M (14 goals, 8 assists); Olivia Sullivan, sr. D (1 goal, 4 assists); Kirsten Taylor, sr. F (24 goals, 11 assists).
Outlook: Gull Lake has won two straight MHSAA championships and is loaded with veterans as it goes for a third. Taylor made the all-state third team last season, and Phommavongsa, Sullivan and Pavletic earned honorable mentions. Gull Lake defeated No. 10 DeWitt and honorable mention Middleville Thornapple Kellogg during this run, with the lone loss by a goal midseason to Division 1 Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central. Junior keeper Regan Troff took over in net this spring and has saved 96 percent of the shots against her.


18-3-2, No. 3
Coach: Bob Bukari, 29th season (record at school N/A)
League finish: Does not play in a conference.
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2004), four runner-up finishes.
Players to watch: Isabel Nino, soph. D/GK; Jenna Staudt, sr. D/M; Dagny Hill, soph. M; Libby Ronchetto, sr. M/D (Statistics not submitted).
Outlook: Country Day has finished runner-up three times since its last title, but has plenty of key players who experienced last season’s run. Hill and Staudt made the all-state second team in 2014, Nino made the third and Ronchetto earned honorable mention. The Yellowjackets eliminated No. 6 Grosse Ile and then edged No. 2 Flint Powers Catholic in a shootout to advance to this weekend.

23-1, No. 1
Coach: Randy Heethuis, 26th season (487-87-28)
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Green.
Championship history: Eight MHSAA titles (most recent 2014), three runner-up finishes.
Players to watch: Bethany Balcer, sr. M (38 goals, 13 assists); Maddy VanDyke, jr. D (5 goals, 2 assists); Casandra Besteman, sr. M (3 goals, 3 assists); Elly Brummel, sr. D (4 goals, 5 assists).
Outlook: Unity Christian bounced back from a rare Finals miss by winning its eighth title last spring and second in three seasons. Unity Christian downed the reigning champion, Grand Rapids South Christian, in the Regional Final and also eliminated No. 4 Grand Rapids Catholic Central. Balcer – one of five players with at least 10 goals – and VanDyke are returning all-state first-teamers, while Brummel made the second team and Besteman earned honorable mention.


21-3, No. 2
Coach: Tim TerHaar, 15th season (255-64-20)
League finish: First in O-K Silver.
Championship history: Division 4 champion 2014, 2013 and 2012.
Players to watch: Allison Keizer, sr. GK (0.88 goals-against average, 14 shutouts); Morgan Buursma, sr. D (20 goals, 4 assists); Hilary Curry, sr. M (24 goals, 16 assists); Emily VanVliet, sr. M (11 goals, 26 assists).
Outlook: Calvin Christian can become just the second team in MHSAA history to win four straight girls soccer championships, following the Unity Christian teams of 2005-10. Keizer and Buursma made the all-state first team last season, while Curry made the third team and VanVliet earned honorable mention. Four Calvin Christian players have scored at least 20 goals this season – junior forwards Whitney Koets (28) and Natalie Honeycutt (22) are the other two.

20-4, honorable mention
Coach: Joel Vande Kopple, ninth season (129-41-9)
League finish: Tied for first in Greater Lansing Activities Conference.
Championship history: Division 4 runner-up 2011.
Players to watch: Kasey Jamieson, fr. F (47 goals, 15 assists); Emily Voss, sr. F (27 goals, 16 assists); Rachelle Trafford, sr. GK (0.74 goals-against average, 15 shutouts).
Outlook: Lansing Christian has reached at least the Semifinals four of the last five seasons, giving the Pilgrims as much late-round experience as most left this weekend. Voss made the all-state third team in 2014 and provides an excellent one-two scoring punch with Jamieson, who also had both goals in the Semifinal win over Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett to push her first-season total to 49. 

PHOTO: Grandville Calvin Christian's Emily VanVliet controls possession during last season's Division 4 Final win.  

McBain Northern Michigan Christian's VanNoord Building on Career Excellence

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 13, 2024

Jada VanNoord entered her senior season this spring on the MHSAA girls soccer career goal list with 108 over her first three seasons at McBain Northern Michigan Christian, and after scoring 40 with 63 total points in 2023.

She also was just shy of making the career points list after making the single-season list as a sophomore with 52 in 2022.

VanNoord has signed to continue her career at Cornerstone University.

See below for more recent additions to the girls soccer record book, and click the heading to see the record book in full.  

Girls Soccer

Sophomore Macy Freeman became the first from Otisville LakeVille Memorial to be listed in the girls soccer record book when she scored all eight goals in her team’s win over Flint Carman-Ainsworth on April 29, 2022, and she was added for the second-highest scoring game in history with 10 goals last May 12 against Marlette. Freeman also was added for 43 goals total as a sophomore and 39 as a junior, and she entered this season on the career goals list as well with 81.

Brighton Charyl Stockwell’s Cassie Hall earned a pair of record book entries for her offensive performance as a junior in 2022. She made the single-season goals list with 55 and single-season points list with 60.

Although her 224 saves as a senior in 2022 fell just shy of making the single-season list, Parchment goalkeeper Gabrielle Novak finished her career with 713 over three seasons and 51 games – with 2020 canceled because of COVID-19. She was joined that spring by senior Kasey Leckie, who made the single-season goals list with 32.

Grace Hewitt became the first West Michigan Aviation Academy player to be listed for career goals, as she tallied 75 from 2019-22 (with 2020 canceled). She also was added for 32 as a senior.

Remus Chippewa Hills’ Karley Densmore made 36 saves against Big Rapids on April 25, 2022, tied for fifth-most in one match, and her 292 over 17 games for the season rank third. Additionally, teammate Hayley Gomber was added for five assists in a game against Mason County Central on April 7, 2022. Both were juniors.

Kelila Rustin made the single-season saves list in 2022 with 251 over 17 games. She was a sophomore at Ionia.

Allison Johnson earned Howard City Tri County’s first girls soccer record book entry in 2021, scoring 30 goals over 19 games. She graduated in 2023.

Schoolcraft’s Hannah Thompson totaled 18 record book entries over three varsity seasons, despite missing her sophomore year which was canceled due to COVID-19. The 2022 graduate five times had a single-game high of eight goals, and as a senior she bested her state record for points with 99 – despite falling just a few goals short of her state record in that category, with a second-place 83. She finished with 130 goals, second all-time, over a combined 54 games, and a fifth-highest 240 points. She’s playing at Eastern Michigan.

Sterling Heights 2023 graduate Mikalah Lewis earned a pair of record book entries over her final two seasons. The first was for 34 goals as a junior in 2022, and she tied for third-most assists in a game on April 10 of last season with six against Center Line.

Lily Usher capped her three-year varsity career at Owosso last spring with 60 more saves than anyone over a career in MHSAA history. She tops that list with 773 over 49 games, with her 268 as a junior in 2022 added as well – and that season she also tied her single-game high with 35.

Layne Palmer had one of the busiest goalkeeping nights in MHSAA history April 21, 2023, when she saved 43 shots from Utica Ford during a 6-0 loss. The Port Huron senior’s saves remain tied for third-most for one game.

Grace Graham capped her Laingsburg career in 2021 by leading the Wolfpack to its first Regional Final appearance – and made the record book for 39 goals and also 51 total points.

Cheboygan’s Kenzie Burt is playing college basketball at Aquinas College, but she left her mark on her high school soccer program as a senior in 2023. Burt made the record book with 33 goals and 53 points total.

Jessica Peters earned Dryden’s first girls soccer entry since 2012 with 48 goals as a senior in 2023, over 19 games. She’s continuing at St. Clair County Community College.

Lydia Kruis and Litzy Ramirez capped their three-season Comstock varsity careers last year with performances among the best all-time in the sport. Among 10 record book entries, Kruis was added for 74 goals (third all-time) and 83 points (sixth) as a senior and 158 goals for her career (ninth). Her eight goals last May 17 against Buchanan tied for fourth-most in one game. Ramirez graduated with seven record book listings, with her six assists against Buchanan that game tied for third-most with her 47 for the season setting the MHSAA record. Her 86 career assists tied for ninth.

Jaidyn Veldhouse led Grandville Calvin Christian to another successful run last spring. A senior now, she made record lists with 37 goals and 52 points as the Squires finished 17-1-3. She will continue at Saginaw Valley State.

Isabella Pool’s junior season last spring included a highlight against Marshall. Although her Coldwater team took a 5-0 loss, Pool saved 39 shots – fifth-most for one match in MHSAA history.

Lutheran Westland added its second athlete to this record book, and first since 2005, as Madilyn Webb finished her three-season varsity career with 48 goals and 53 points last spring and 105 goals over her three seasons. She also scored 33 goals as a junior and seven in one game against Brighton Charyl Stockwell Academy. She’s continuing at Concordia-Ann Arbor.

PHOTO McBain Northern Michigan Christian's Jada VanNoord (20) steps into a kick during a May 1 game against Clare. (Photo courtesy of the Cadillac News.)