Sailors Ride Scoreless Streak to 2nd Title

June 14, 2019

By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – Grand Rapids South Christian senior goalkeeper Annika Zuverink said that throughout this spring, head coach Brian Broekhuizen brought the team bagels every time she and the Sailors shut out an opponent.

But toward the end of the season, Zuverink said Broekhuizen started bringing something else to reward a scoreless performance.

“He’s upgraded to cheeseburgers now,” Zuverink said. 

Whatever the choice of food, it was bagels and cheeseburgers for all on South Christian’s squad again Saturday following the Division 3 Final at Michigan State University’s DeMartin Field.

The Sailors recorded their 20th shutout of the season and had plenty of offense to flank their stout defense, scoring twice in the first half en route to a 3-0 victory over Essexville Garber.

It was the second title in school history for the Sailors, who also won it all in 2013.

South Christian didn’t allow a single goal over its seven playoff games. 

“I think that’s really impressive,” Zuverink said. “I can’t believe we successfully did that. It’s unbelievable.”

The victory also served as a milestone win for Broekhuizen, who won his 100th game as head coach of the South Christian program.

“That is so special, especially with this group,” Broekhuizen said. “I don’t know what to say about that. It’s just so fitting for me to celebrate that with these girls.”

South Christian opened the scoring with 23:25 left in the first half on a goal by senior Joz VanTol, who headed home a service into the box by senior Sydney Cleary on a free kick from roughly 30 yards out taken near the right sideline.

The Sailors then scored a back-breaking goal off a corner kick right before halftime. Junior Audrey Batts served the ball into the box, and senior Elise Van Sparrentek chipped the ball through defenders and beyond the goal line to give South Christian a two-goal cushion.

The Sailors didn’t let up to start the second half, tilting the field in their favor and then finally cashing on another opportunity.

VanTol dribbled into the right side of the box and fed a pass into the middle to junior Emma DeVries, who buried the point-blank chance with 33:18 left in the game to make it 3-0.

That offense was more than enough for South Christian’s brick wall of a defense.

“At the beginning of the season, I tricked them a little bit and said, ‘Defenders, raise your hand,’” Broekhuizen said. “By now, most of them know that everyone should raise their hand. We work on defending from the front to the back. Forwards cut the field in half, midfielders pressuring and covering, and the back covering, tackling and winning headers. It’s a defensive effort, and now they know defense really wins championships.”

South Christian carried the play throughout, outshooting Garber 15-8 and earning all nine of the game’s corner kicks.

Garber head coach Troy Stewart said the physicality of South Christian was something his team hadn’t seen all year. 
“We don’t play the teams they do,” Stewart said. “We didn’t know the physicality was going to be like that and we weren’t prepared, and that’s on us as coaches. We probably should’ve come over here and seen a few games. We learned a lesson.”

While it was a disappointing Final for Garber (22-1-2), in time the Dukes will look back favorably on their first championship game in school history.

They finished with nearly three times as many wins as in 2016 – when they won just eight games –claimed their first Regional title, and upset No. 2-ranked Warren Regina in a Semifinal.

But after building the program to this point, Stewart said after 16 seasons he is stepping down as head coach to spend more time with his three granddaughters who are getting into soccer.  

Given it was the program’s first appearance in a Final, Stewart said the team didn’t know there would be a runner-up trophy and medals presented to his players afterward. Finding out that news was a pleasant surprise, even in defeat.

“We just didn’t know,” Stewart said. “Every time we were going, it was day-at-a-time and we are going to play whoever is on that field. We didn’t know there was a trophy and medals.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Grand Rapids South Christian hoists a Finals championship trophy Saturday for the first time since 2013. (Middle) The Sailors’ Sarah Possett works to nudge the ball away from Garber’s Isabel Baranski (4).

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.)