Rematch Goes to Calvin Christian Again

June 14, 2014

By Chip Mundy
Special for Second Half

MASON – A nearly identical repeat Saturday created a three-peat for Grandville Calvin Christian in the MHSAA Division 4 girls soccer championship game at Mason High School.

For the second year in a row, Calvin Christian wiped out a one-goal deficit against Clarkston Everest/Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes and then held off a barrage of shots late in the second half to win the title with a 2-1 victory.

It was the third consecutive year that Calvin Christian defeated the Lakers in the Division 4 championship game.

“It was so similar to last year,” said Calvin Christian coach Tim TerHaar, whose team finished 24-1. “They hit the crossbar late last year, and our keeper came up big.

“I said it last year, and I’ll say it again this year: The margin between winning and losing between two great teams is so small.”

This one was no different. After a scoreless first half, Calvin Christian held a 4-1 lead in shots on goal. The first shot on goal was not taken until the 16th minute.

The scoreless tie was broken in the 50th minute when Clarkston Everest/Waterford Our Lady defenseman Claire Lasceski got the ball in front of the net and beat the Calvin Christian goalkeeper to the left for a goal.

It did little to dampen the confidence of the Squires, and it wasn’t solely because of the same situation from last year’s title game. Calvin Christian trailed in its Semifinal against Muskegon West Michigan Christian on Thursday before rallying for a 3-1 victory.

“We were down in the Semifinal in the pouring rain, and we spoke of our confidence at halftime, knowing that we were still OK,” TerHaar said. “I think that experience on Wednesday night meant a lot to us.

“We haven’t had a lot of close games – the game on Wednesday night was the first time we had to come from behind – and I’ll be honest, I think that helped us at least believe. You preach that you believe when you get down, but until you do it, you don’t know how your team is going to react.”

Ten minutes after Lasceski’s goal, Calvin Christian tied it when sophomore forward Whitney Koets scored on an unusual shot. Lakers goalkeeper Megan Luttinen was drawn out of the net to challenge Koets, who was unable to get off a solid shot. Instead, it trickled past Luttinen and made it to the net.

“I still don’t believe it; it was pretty surreal,” said Koets, whose goal was her 25th of the season. “Hilary Curry did a head past me right into space, and all I thought was to just get something on it, so I did what I did.

“It seemed like it took a long time to get to the net. I thought someone was going to come up and take it out of there.”

The game-tying goal added momentum to Calvin Christian, and just three minutes later, junior midfielder Emily VanVliet scored the go-ahead goal as she shot to the left side of the net from the right side of the box.

“Every coach teaches you to shoot toward the back post, so that is what I did; I shot to the back post looking for that open net,” VanVliet said of her 17th goal of the season.

From there, the remainder of the game was frantic, especially for Squires goalkeeper Allison Keizer, who had the majority of her eight saves in the final 10 minutes.

Clarkston Everest/Waterford Our Lady was relentless in its attack, forcing Keizer to come up with a handful of huge saves, including some off corner kicks, down the stretch.

“It was stressful,” Keizer said. “They were pressing hard, and we were really going at it. We stepped up our game, and we really stuck with them and battled.”

Keizer pointed to one save in particular that she felt was huge.

“I think the one where I had to deflect it out of the end was pretty scary because I made a mistake and started coming out for the ball when I shouldn’t have,” she said. “I ended up backing up trying to fix it, and I ended up being able to fix it.

“It’s scary for me because my heart starts pumping.”

The player who threatened to score the most for the Lakers was senior forward Anna Robb, who came into the game with a team-high 19 goals.

“I wish we had taken more shots earlier in the game, but their keeper did a really good job,” Robb said.

Keizer’s heroics late in the game did not go unnoticed by either coach.

“Allison came up huge to snag a few balls late that could have been goals,” TerHaar said.

First-year Lakers coach Courtney Shegos was pleased with the way her team finished but was disappointed with a few defensive lapses.

“I told the girls to push up, push up, and we got hungry, and their keeper kept them in the game,” Shegos said. “She made a couple of prime saves, so really that was all we could do – to try to put some pressure on them and try to find the net. It could have gone either way.

“We made two mistakes in our coverage, and they capitalized on them. It’s as simple as that.”

The Lakers finished 17-2-1 and will wait until next spring to continue their pursuit of a first MHSAA championship since 2010.

“I wanted it for them, and I wish we could have done it, but I couldn’t have been prouder of the way they played.” Shegos said.

TerHaar praised the play of the Lakers.

“It’s a cruel game, really,” he said. “I don’t think they deserved to lose, based on the game that they played. I’m super-proud of our ability to come back from being down, but boy, they played a great game.”

TerHaar had a more difficult time explaining how it feels to coach in three consecutive championship games.

“It’s hard to put into words, to be honest,” he said. “We’ve been a good program for a long time, but it took us a while to fight through the South Christians and Unity Christians of the world in our Districts.

“I’m proud of our players. At the end of the day, it’s about having a team that, as a coach, you enjoy coaching, and that starts with girls who just enjoy playing and enjoy playing for each other. This team defines that.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Tessa Glashower (3) works to get past Clarkston Everest/Waterford Our Lady’s Anna Robb on Saturday. (Middle) Calvin Christian’s Camie Rietberg takes a big swing as Alex Troy (3) moves in to defend.

'Where is Spring Lake?' They'll Know Now as Lakers Begin Reign Atop D2

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

June 15, 2024

EAST LANSING – Ella Andree and Clara Saunders started recording a three-part Tik Tok on the opening day of Spring Lake’s girls soccer season, knowing that in order to film Parts 2 and 3 they would need to advance to, and win, the MHSAA Division 2 Final.

On Saturday, they finished the video.

Spring Lake defeated Bloomfield Hills Marian 1-0 at DeMartin Stadium to avenge a 2021 championship match loss to the Mustangs and claim the first Finals title in school history.

“If we won, we had it ready,” Andree said. “We did win, so I hope it looks good.

“The start of our season was a little rough, we had a lot of ties, and we didn’t really know where we were going to end up. But we pulled it together and figured out what players needed to do what, and to be here is super crazy.”

Bloomfield Hills Marian’s Clair Dauer (16) and Spring Lake’s Elaina Furton work for possession.Andree assisted Aveya Patino on the game’s lone goal, and goalkeeper Jessica Stewart made four saves behind a stout Spring Lake defense to give coach Becky May her first title in her eighth season coaching at her alma mater. That it came on the campus where May played collegiately only made it more sweet.

“Extremely proud of my girls, but just proud of West Michigan, our community and how we’ve been able to step up and really make a name for ourselves in the soccer world,” May said. “I played on this field in college, so as a homecoming for me, here’s why it’s important: When I got announced the first time I started at Michigan State, they announced me from Spring Lake, Michigan, and the girl next to me said, ‘Where in the world is Spring Lake?’ No one heard of anyone outside the sub(urb)s of Detroit. Well, they’ve heard of us now. So I’m very proud.”

The 2021 championship match appearance was Spring Lake’s first, and that ended with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Marian. Andree, Saunders and Stewart were among the players on the field Saturday who had played in that game as freshmen, and getting another shot at the Mustangs certainly added motivation.

“I feel like to replay the team that you originally lost to is always a great feeling,” Saunders said. “It’s just like a second chance. We have gotten a lot better, and I’m just glad that we made it back here. Especially for my senior year. We came out and did what every team wishes to do, is go all the way, and then we won it. I couldn’t be happier or more proud of this team.”

Saturday’s match was tightly contested, with both teams having long stretches of possession but not creating many big scoring chances.

The one that hit the back of the net started when Andree won a ball in the corner and played it across the goal. Marian keeper Dani Mertz was able to get a hand on it, but not all of it, and Patino was there to clean it up, scoring the 29th goal of her freshman season. It was also the first goal Marian (15-4-3) had allowed during the postseason.

Spring Lake players begin their celebration.“You can’t coach speed, (Patino and Andree are) born with those wheels, and all you have to do as a coach is just put them in the right spot, get them to work together, and they’re just going to be destructive from beginning to end,” May said. “So even when they don’t find the back of the net, they’re putting defenses on their heels and they have to respond to them and react to them. As a result of that, that gives us much more opportunity to possess in the middle of the field. So we put them up top, let them run havoc and then enjoy the benefits of that.”

From there, Spring Lake (17-2-5) stood tall defensively, not allowing the Mustangs to get a great chance to tie the game. With a back three of seniors Ella Rabideau and Brooke Bolthouse and junior Lauren Nicles playing in front of the experienced Stewart, May felt comfortable. Marian, meanwhile, was left frustrated as plenty of second-half possession failed to result in many opportunities. 

“They defended with five,” Marian coach Danny Price said. “I watched the Midland game where they played them in the Regional Final, and both of their outside backs were flying forward and they gave us a ton of space. In the first half, they did the same thing. After they scored their goal, they dropped their outside backs really deep and defended with five, which is what we’ve done in the postseason as well. I’ve got to give them props for that, they defended quite resolutely.”

Price was in his first season at Marian, and took over a young squad, as the Mustangs graduate a strong, but small (four) senior class.

“We’ll be back,” he said. “We’ve got a young squad, and we’ve got tons of freshmen coming in; we’ll just reload. We’ll be back here again.” 

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) Spring Lake keeper Jessica Stewart, in green, goes high to get a hand on the ball Saturday at DeMartin Stadium. (Middle) Bloomfield Hills Marian’s Clair Dauer (16) and Spring Lake’s Elaina Furton work for possession. (Below) Spring Lake players begin their celebration.