Finals Preview: 2012 Best Back for More
Finals Preview: 2012 Best Back for More
Girls Soccer
Posted Friday, June 14, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

A number of players taking the field at MHSAA Girls Soccer Finals on Saturday should be plenty familiar with the awe that accompanies competing in a championship game.

The Division 4 Final is a rematch of last season's Grandville Calvin Christian win over Waterford Our Lady/Clarkston Everest Collegiate. Reigning Division 2 champion Birmingham Marian is back, as is Troy – the runner-up the last two seasons in Division 1.

The one game without a familiar team is in Division 3. Although Grand Rapids South Christian and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep entered the postseason ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, neither has played in an MHSAA Final.

Below is Saturday's schedule, followed by a look at each team that will be playing.

Division 1 at Williamston, Noon
Grandville (14-7-1) vs Troy (14-6-3)

Division 2 at Williamston, 3 p.m.
Richland Gull Lake (20-1-1) vs Bloomfield Hills Marian (17-2-4)

Division 3 at Mason, Noon
Grand Rapids South Christian (21-1-3) vs Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (21-2-2)

Division 4 at Mason, 3 p.m.
Grandville Calvin Christian (17-2-4) vs Waterford Our Lady/Clarkston Everest (20-0)

Tickets cost $7. All Finals will be streamed live online at MHSAA.tv, with radio broadcasts available on MHSAAnetwork.com.

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

Division 1

GRANDVILLE
Record/rank:
14-7-1, unranked
Coach: Lewis Robinson, third season (45-16-4)
League finish: Third in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Players to watch: Rachael Braginton, soph. F; Delanie Bosworth, sr. D; Sydney Blitchok, fr. F. (Statistics not submitted.)
Outlook: Grandville has improved its win total all three seasons under Robinson, with three District titles, but is finishing off an unprecedented playoff run this weekend. The Bulldogs advanced in part by beating honorable mention Caledonia in the Regional Final and No. 3 Novi in Wednesday’s Semifinal. Grandville shut out three of those six postseason opponents after navigating a league that included No. 6 East Kentwood and No. 8 Rockford.

TROY
Record/rank:
14-6-3, unranked
Coach: Brian Zawislak, fifth season (80-22-18)
League finish: Fourth in Oakland Activities Association Red
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 2003), four runner-up finishes.
Players to watch: Sarah Troccoli, soph. M (12 goals, 8 assists); Alison Holland, sr. GK (0.69 GAA, 7 shutouts); Madison Hirsch, sr. F (5 goals, 4 assists).
Outlook: Troy has been on the cusp of the last two titles, falling in Finals to Novi and Okemos, respectively, the last two seasons. The Colts are on an 11-0-1 run after a bit of a slow start that did include 1-0 losses to three teams ranked among the top three in their respective divisions at the end of the regular season. Troy beat honorable mention Anchor Bay in the Regional Final and then No. 10 Rochester in a shootout in Wednesday’s Semifinal.

Division 2

BIRMINGHAM MARIAN
Record/rank:
17-2-4, No. 2
Coach: Barry Brodsky, 12th season (222-21-28)
League finish: Second in Detroit Catholic High School League Division 1
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2012), one runner-up finish.
Players to watch: Kelly Sweeney, sr. M (10 goals, 5 assists); Catherine Anger, sr. F (11 goals, 12 assists); Kaitlin Patouhas, fr. GK.
Outlook: All five of Marian’s titles have come over the last decade, including three over the last four seasons. Both losses and a tie this season came against top-ranked Livonia Ladywood, and the Mustangs beat honorable mention Avondale in the District Final and No. 6 Fenton in the Semifinal on the way to this weekend. Patouhas and senior Allison Conway have combined to allow only 12 goals.

RICHLAND GULL LAKE
Record/rank:
20-1-1, No. 3
Coach: Jeff Corstange, second season (33-7-2)
League finish: First in Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East
Championship history: Class B champion 1992, four runner-up finishes.
Players to watch: Carley Rice, sr. M (17 goals, 18 assists); Rachel Fouts, jr. M (17 goals, 16 assists); Megan Harma, jr. GK (0.40 GAA, 15 shutouts).
Outlook: Gull Lake was a regular finalist during the 1990s and is back in a championship game for the first time since finishing runner-up in 1999. Junior Tabitha Boze and sophomore Amanda Pavletic each add 13 more goals to the team total, and junior Sydney Nikitas has scored 10. Gull Lake opened this season with nine shutouts in 10 games giving up a one goal only, in a 2-1 win over No. 8 Plainwell. The lone loss was 2-1 to honorable mention Stevensville Lakeshore in the regular-season finale.  

Division 3

GRAND RAPIDS SOUTH CHRISTIAN
Record/rank:
21-1-3, No. 1
Coach: Jason Boersma, sixth season (91-30-12)
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Players to watch: Jessica Owen, soph. F (15 goals, 12 assists); Kendra Haan, sr. F (13 goals, 11 assists); Emily Blankespoor, jr. GK (0.45 GAA, 14 shutouts).
Outlook: South Christian has been building toward this run, winning four straight District championships before then claiming its first Regional title last week. The Sailors eliminated reigning champion and No. 4-ranked Hudsonville Unity Christian in the Regional and also honorable mentions Delton Kellogg and Paw Paw during the tournament. Senior Kayla Diemer adds another 11 goals and seven assists splitting time in the midfield and on defense.    

PONTIAC NOTRE DAME PREP
Record/rank:
21-2-2, No. 2
Coach: Jim Stachura, fourth season (59-24-4)
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic High School League AA
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Players to watch: Taylor Timko, jr. M (39 goals, 12 assists); Lindsey Klei, jr. F (12 goals, 11 assists); Alexandra Arnoldy, sr. GK (0.73 GAA, 12 shutouts).
Outlook: After making just its second Semifinal ever in 2012, Notre Dame has taken a first-time step into the season's final game. Notre Dame eliminated No. 3 Detroit Country Day, No. 9 Jackson Lumen Christi, honorable mention Grosse Ile and No. 8 Flint Powers Catholic along the way – and also beat Division 1 finalist Troy 3-0 during the regular season. Stachura was an assistant when Troy won the boys Division 1 title in 2003.     

Division 4

GRANDVILLE CALVIN CHRISTIAN
Record/rank:
17-2-4, No. 2
Coach: Tim TerHaar, 13th season (209-60-20)
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Silver
Championship history: Division 4 champion 2012.
Players to watch: Camie Rietberg, jr. M (23 goals, 4 assists); Hilary Curry, soph. F (14 goals, 17 assists); Emily VanVliet, soph. F (13 goals, 17 assists), Natalie Curry, sr. M (14 goals, 10 assists)
Outlook: Calvin Christian has kept on cruising after winning its first championship a year ago, with losses this season only to Division 3 No. 4 Unity Christian and Division 2 No. 5 Grand Rapids Christian. The Squires beat No. 3 Kalamazoo Christian in the Semifinal to advance. Although they’ve scored 127 goals (5.5 per game), the defense has been just as impressive with freshman keeper Jordyn Postema posting 19 shutouts and giving up 0.43 goals per game.    

WATERFORD OUR LADY/CLARKSTON EVEREST COLLEGIATE
Record/rank:
20-0, No. 1
Coach: Katie Hearn, second season (38-1-2)
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic High School League Intersectional
Championship history: Division 4 champion 2010, runner-up 2012.
Players to watch: Anna Robb, jr. F (29 goals, 9 assists), Alex Troy, fr. M (12 goals, 14 assists); Ava Doetsch, sr. F (14 goals, 12 assists); Jessica Parry, sr. M (14 goals, 12 assists); Lindsay Straw, jr. M (13 goals, 8 assists).
Outlook: The Lakers are loaded with skilled scorers despite only three seniors on the team. Like with Calvin Christian, the defense has been incredibly steady as well – junior Megan Luttinen and her defenders didn’t give up more than one goal in a game this season until No. 4 Lansing Christian scored two in the Semifinal. Luttinen has 12 shutouts.

PHOTO: Troy's Madison Hirsch (22), here moving the ball ahead against Okemos in last season's Division 1 Final, hopes to help her team to its first championship since 2003. (Click to see more at HighSchoolsSportsScene.com.)


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