Cadillac senior – Soccer
Divozzo was regarded last spring as a top goalkeeper in the northern Lower Peninsula after helping the Vikings to a Big North Conference title with 10 shutouts while giving up only 0.86 goals per game. But an incredible start this spring should put the entire state on notice. The third-year varsity starter has shutouts in all of her team’s first six games and blanked three opponents to lead Cadillac to the Holland Invitational championship Saturday and earn the Michigan National Guard Performance of the Week.
The Vikings beat Holland Black River 2-0, tied Grand Rapids Northview 0-0 and then defeated Holland 2-0, and have increased their start this season to 4-0-2. Divozzo, who has signed to continue her career at Saginaw Valley State University, wasn’t tested much against Black River, but made a key save diving into the top right corner to stop a shot from the 18-yard line and preserve the tie against Northview.
Cadillac graduated only three seniors from last season’s team that finished 14-6-1, so the start this spring hasn’t come as too much of a surprise to the senior keeper. She also was a key contributor to Cadillac’s girls ski team that placed sixth at the MHSAA Division 2 Final this winter, finishing 20th in both the slalom and giant slalom to earn all-state second-team honors in that sport. She’s a strong student sporting a 3.53 grade-point average but is undecided on what she’ll study at SVSU, although she said she enjoys math and science classes and might consider something in the medical field.
Coach Jen VanNoord said: “I feel so fortunate to have a player like Abby as my goalkeeper. Just knowing she's in net gives me the freedom and the confidence to play a high-pressure formation. She is intense and crazy and calm all at the same time. Abby has the ability to elevate her game when matches are tight … the tougher the match the better she plays. She's also my player that can make a stressed out teammate laugh and relax with her silly sense of humor. Abby is a powerful role model to the young players and a leader in our soccer community. Her confidence and continued growth as a goalkeeper have made an exceptional impact on me over the last three seasons."
Performance Point: “We have a lot of returning players, and we’ve all been playing with each other since we were 8-year-olds. We know how each other plays, know how to work together to keep other teams from scoring.”
Net minder: (I’m strong at) communication, making sure everyone knows what’s going on. I can see the whole field; they might not be able to see the whole thing. … I like that (keeper) is so different from any other position, and so important also. Most people think you’re the goalie, you just stand there. ... When you make a save, and everyone cheers, that’s pretty cool."
Refuse to lose: “I hate losing. I’m going to do anything to make sure that we don’t lose. Making sure people are dropping (into formation), making sure people aren’t left open, just making sure we don’t get scored on. In practice, I’m known as the silly one. But when it’s game time, a little switch goes on, and I’m serious.”
Goalkeeper’s goal: “I want to win a District. Our school hasn’t won a District in girls soccer ever, so obviously that’s the main goal. That would be pretty crazy, just my senior year to finally have that little extra part.”
SVSU, here I come: “The campus is awesome, the staff is awesome. I don’t really know what I want to do, and they’ve got any field of study that I’d want, so it’s a win-win – I get to play soccer and figure out what I want to do at the same place.”
– Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor
Every week during the 2015-16 school year, Second Half and the Michigan National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.
The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom, or protecting lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster.
Previous 2015-16 honorees
March 30: Cassius Winston, Detroit U-D Jesuit boys basketball - Read
March 23: Kierra Fletcher, Warren Cousino girls basketball - Read
March 16: Jacob Montague, Grosse Pointe South swimming & diving - Read
March 9: Kyle Tuttle, St. Charles boys bowling - Read
March 2: Brittney Schnicke, Caledonia girls bowling - Read
Feb. 24: Kamari Newman, Detroit East English boys basketball - Read
Feb. 17: Jason Whitens, Powers North Central boys basketball - Read
Feb. 10: Rachel Hogan, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Read
Feb. 3: Nehemiah Mork, Midland Dow swimming & diving - Read
Jan. 27: Mardrekia Cook, Muskegon girls basketball - Read
Jan. 20: Sage Castillo, Hartland wrestling - Read
Jan. 13: Rob Zofchak, Dexter swimming & diving - Read
Jan. 6: Tyler Deming, Caro wrestling – Read
Dec. 15: Jordan Weber, East Jordan boys basketball – Read
Dec. 8: Kaitlyn Geers, Kent City girls basketball – Read
PHOTOS: (Top) Abby Divozzo (11) surveys the field during Cadillac's game Saturday against Grand Rapids Northview. (Middle) Divozzo launches the ball downfield. (Photos courtesy of Cadillac girls soccer program.)