By Butch Harmon
Special for Second Half
COMSTOCK PARK – Grand Rapids South Christian goalkeeper Carter Selvius clutched the Division 3 championship trophy following the Sailors’ shootout victory against Williamston and happily said that no one would pry the trophy from his hands.
That task, however, may have been much easier to accomplish than trying to get a soccer ball past the senior goalkeeper.
Williamston tried as hard as it could to put a ball in the back of the South Christian net for 100 minutes during Saturday’s MHSAA Division 3 championship match at Comstock Park High School, but was unable to accomplish the goal. The match was eventually settled in a shootout with South Christian outscoring Williamston 5-3 in penalty kicks.
“It’s coming to bed with me tonight,” Selvius said, as he clutched the championship trophy to his chest. “I face these guys every day in practice when we take penalty kicks, and I was confident in their performance. I look at them and try to get their tendencies, but they score on me all the time.”
Williamston, however, was unable to score on Selvius during regulation and overtime. The Hornets totaled 24 shots for the match, with Selvius totaling 14 saves.
“Williamston did everything but put the ball in the back of the net,” said South Christian coach Jason Boersma. “This is just unbelievable. We lost this way two years ago, and it’s a horrible way to lose. Carter just made some monster saves. Williamston controlled the pace of play, to be honest.”
The Hornets outshot South Christian 24-5.
“Anytime you outshoot and out-possess your opponent and lose you are disappointed,” said Williamston coach Brent Sorg. “Their goalkeeper just did a heck of a job. He is very good. He made some tough saves, and that kept them in the game. We had our chances, but we just didn’t put it away.”
Selvius had plenty of help on the defensive end of the field.
“My defense has been great all year,” Selvius said. “They have done a great job of keeping me clean and keeping people off me. (Williamston) had a couple of good opportunities, but I was fortunate to get a hand on the ball.”
Defense has been a strong suit of South Christian all season. The Sailors allowed just 13 goals all season as they compiled a 20-3-3 overall record. During the playoff march, they allowed just one goal in seven tournament wins.
“Our defense has played well in front of Carter all season,” Boersma said. “Guys like Austin Clark and Dylan Huisman and Carter have come up big all year. Williamston had four point-blank balls today. They shanked a couple of them and Carter made big saves on the other two. That is how you win big games. I’m proud of my guys.”
Williamston goalkeeper Ian Petri also came up big when he needed, including a dramatic diving stop of a South Christian shot late in the second overtime period.
The match then went to the dramatic penalty kick shootout.
South Christian scored on all five of its penalty kicks. Austin Clark started the scoring, followed by Oliver Weesner, Ryan Doornbos, Selvius and Zach DeKock who fired home the fifth and game-clinching penalty kick.
Selvius helped his own cause when his penalty kick put the Sailors up 4-2.
“I was not on the penalty kick squad at the start of the season,” Selvius said, “but I just stayed after practice and worked on it. I stayed late and worked hard and got better at it, and I eventually made it on. It’s definitely a competition between you and the other goalkeeper. I made some big saves, and I hit a big shot. It was awesome.”
The feeling was much different for the Sailors than it was two years ago when South Christian fell to Flint Powers Catholic in a shootout in the 2013 Division 3 championship match.
Williamston finished 19-6 and MHSAA runner-up for the third time in four seasons. The Hornets fell to South Christian in overtime in the 2012 Final.
“This was the second time in three years we have been involved in one of these,” Boersma said, “so we are kind of use to it. I didn’t want to watch it. In years past we just to have co-champions. In games like today you could have that because both teams played like champions.”
Click for the full box score.
PHOTOS: (Top) South Christian keeper Carter Selvius secures the ball during Saturday’s Division 3 championship win. (Middle) A Williamston player moves the ball ahead with a pair of Sailors defending.