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DIVISION 1-2 GIRLS SOCCER REGIONALS ROUNDUP: Spring Lake Outlasts Forest Hills Central; Midland, Lakeshore, Holland Christian all advance



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CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. – Clash of the titans?


Tuesday’s girls soccer Division 2 regional semifinals did feature two top teams in top-ranked Spring Lake and seventh-ranked Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central. Both programs have been mainstays in the Division 2 top-15 the last four-plus seasons.

But as one-game elimination tournaments go, anything can happen.

Spring Lake, one of just a handful of programs to play in the regional finals the last three years, made it four straight appearances in the regional finals this year with a 2-1 victory over Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central Tuesday in the regional semifinals at Cedar Springs High School.

The game reached double-overtime and a shootout to decide the winner.

The Lakers (14-2-5) will face Saginaw Valley League runner-up and third-ranked Midland Thursday at Cedar Springs for the regional crown at 6 p.m.

Spring Lake lost in the regional finals in both 2022 to eventual state champion Forest Hills Central and in 2023 to eventual state runner-up East Grand Rapids after finishing as the Division 2 state runner-up back in 2021 to Birmingham Marian.

“I thought we had the better chances in the first half, but in the second half I felt Forest Hills Central controlled play. We let them have their (possession) but tightened down in the defensive (third) and really made it hard for them,” said Spring Lake coach Becky May. “We were able to score, gave up a goal, but out defense and goalkeeper did a great job down the stretch.

“Once you get to a shootout, anything can happen,” added May. “We made all four of ours but they missed on two. We didn’t even have to take our fifth shot. We practice those all the time in practice and we had four of our best (shooters) step up and make theirs to help us (advance).”

Kyle Shelton gave Spring Lake a 1-0 lead in the 69th minute when she blasted home a rebound opportunity after Clare Howe’s free kick hit the goal post.

Forest Hills Central (15-6-1) tied the game in the 71st minute when senior Syd Ryan uncorked a laser off the crossbar, but the ball ricocheted down and sophomore Audrey Leetsma was there on the door step to head home the equalizer past Spring Lake All-State goalkeeper Jessica Stewart.

Neither team would score down the stretch of during both two full 10-minute overtime periods, setting the stage for a shootout to break the stalemate.

Seniors Clara Saunders, Kiele Stephenson, Ella Andree and junior Naomi Force all converted their penalties in the shootout, while Forest Hills Central made two but misfired on two attempts over and wide of the goal. The Lakers didn’t even have to attempt their fifth shot as they had a two-shot difference in the shootout with Force gaining the clincher.

Stewart, an All-State goalkeeper the last two years and fourth-year starter, made 10 saves in the game., Sophomore Zoe Knuff had eight saves for the Rangers.


MIDLAND 5, GAYLORD 0: Being bumped down to Division 2 this season after being a high-quality opponent in Division 1 during the last decade, the Chemics made sure they would not be an upset victim in this year’s Division 2 state tournament after winning a district last season in Division 1. Gaylord posted a 2-1 shootout upset victory last Saturday over ninth-ranked Petoskey. Midland advances with a 16-1-3 record and into Thursday’s regional finals against top-ranked Spring Lake at Cedar Springs High School. Alahna Beckett finished with two goals and an assists, scoring the first two goals in leading Midland to the regional finals. Addy Sterling assisted on the first two goals, while Kennedy Emeott, Ellioh Hays and Farih Kogei also scored for the Chemics. Lizzy Streibel, and Regan Vokal had single assists for Midland, the runner up in the Saginaw Valley League. Niobe Marachant notched the shutout on two saves for the Chemics. Gaylord finishes 10-7-4.

STEVENSVILLE-LAKESHORE 3, MASON 2 (2OT): Fifth-ranked Lakeshore outlasted 11th-ranked Mason in this regional semifinals thriller Tuesday at Richland Gull Lake. Lakeshore advances to face Holland Christian in the regional finals Thursday also at Richland-Gull Lake. Lakeshore, the third-place finisher in a loaded Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference, reached the final eight of the season for the first time in several years. The Lancers (14-4-0) are on a four-game win streak with an 11-5 scoring edge during that run.

HOLLAND CHRISTIAN 1, RICHLAND-GULL LAKE 0 (2OT): Unranked Holland Christian pulled one of the biggest upsets in the Division 2 tournament by stunning fourth-ranked Richland Gull Lake in this regional semifinals match. The Maroons (9-7-1) entered the postseason with a sub-five-hundred record. Holland Christian picked up a 30-yard free kick from Sarah Geerlings that sent the set piece into the back of the net for the game’s only goal in the 85th minute of the first of two full 10-minute overtimes. Cara Rigterink notched the shutout on 12 saves for the Maroons. Gull Lake (13-5-2) captured a district title last week in a district with three top-15 teams and six schools that spent time in the state rankings or honorable mention list this season only to come up short this time around.


PORTAGE CENTRAL 2, CALEDONIA 0: The Mustangs advanced to the Division 1 regional finals for the fourth straight season with this shutout over Caledonia. Senior Mia Hensley volleyed home a cornerkick from senior Alanna Simmons with just two minutes left in the first half and Sophia Sandborn chased down a loose ball on the left side and with a defender draped over her shoulder was able to uncork a high left-footed blast top shelf just below the crossbar form a narrow angle for the second goal in the 76th minute. Junior Alli Rearick notched the 12th shutout of the season for the fifth-ranked Mustangs (15-2-1), who take on unranked Grand Haven (11-6-3) for the regional title Thursday at Hudsonville. Portage Central has now outscored its opposition 62-7 this season.

GRAND HAVEN 2, MILDLAND DOW 1: Grand Haven has road a talented freshman class to somewhat of a resurgence this season. Why stop in regional play. Freshen Kendall Munford scored on a rebound and freshman Mallory Woiteshek headed home a cornerkick from senior Rosalee Springer late in the match as the Buccaneers rallied back for the regional semifinals win at Hudsonville. Woiteshek took the initial shot on the game-tying play with Munford banging home a close-range rebound. Sophomore Lauren Schikkorra volleyed home a cornerkick from freshman Aubree Bills for Saginaw Valley League champion Midland Dow (12-3-4). Hannah Taylor starred in net for Grand Haven (11-6-4) while Avery Christensen anchored the back line as the Buccaneers advance to Thursday’s regional finals against fifth-ranked Portage Central. Lauren Schikorra scored a goal for Midland Dow off an assist from Aubree Bills.

ROCHESTER ADAMS 3, NEW BALTIMORE ANCHOR BAY 2: Senor Yohanna Wang netted the game-winner with 24:19 to play in the second half to lift Adams into the regional finals for the first time since 2019. Evalyn Kekhoua scored with 23:47 left in the first half and Maya Orlowsky netted an equalizer with just 1:13 left in the first half, as sixth-ranked Adams (13-2-2) came back twice in the match. Mckenna Kennedy (Saginaw Valley State) scored in the 10th minute for a 1-0 lead and Gabrielle Anulare (University of Toledo) put her team up 2-1 with 7:16 remaining in the first half for the Tars (10-8-2).

TROY 2, ST. CLAIR SHORES LAKEVIEW 0: The Division 1 third-ranked Colts advanced to the regional finals for the first time since 2021 by handing previously-unbeaten yet unranked Lakeview its first loss of the season. Sophomore Olivia Jasniewicz headed home a cornerkick from senior Jenna Taylor for what proved to be the game-winning goal in the first half, and fellow sophomore Sabrina Gaul volleyed home a cross from the endline form junior Ava Fleming for Troy (14-1-3). Lakeview ends its historic season with an 18-1-2 record and a campaign where the Huskies won the MAC-Blue Division championship and rare district title for the school all while outscoring its opposition 106-5 this season.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS 1, MILFORD 0: After tying for sixth with Oxford in a loaded Oakland Activities Association Red Division, Bloomfield Hills is trying to make up for lost opportunity in the postseason. The Blackhawks, who captured their third straight district title last week and was the 2022 Division 1 state champion, advances with this narrow win in a Division 1 regional semifinals match at Oxford. Junior Sophia Spano converted a penalty kick goal in the 26th minute and senior Jenica Opdahl notched the shutout for Bloomfield Hills (8-4-4). Milford had captured its first two league championship this season (Lake Valley Conference) after going some 34 years without a conference crown and added the school’s first-ever district title this year. The Mavericks finished 15-4-0.

HARTLAND 3, LAKE ORION 2: Senior Addie Frantti had two goals and an assists, including scoring the game-winner with 4:12 remaining to lift 11th-ranked Hartland to this regional semifinals win and into the regional finals against unranked Bloomfield Hills, the 2022 state champion. Frantti converted a penalty kick goal with 5:57 left in the first half and then set up Alyse Daavettila’s breakaway goal just 1:58 before halftime for a 2-0 cushion for the Eagles (14-3-3). Senior Erin Regalia scored twice on two shots inside the opening 10 minutes for the second half to tie the game at 2-2 for Lake Orion (16-7-3).

GROSSE POINTE SOUTH 5, DEARBORN 1: Unranked and unheralded, Grosse Pointe South (11-4-4) is moving on into the Elite Eight of the Division 1 state tournament. The blue Devils scored five goals over KLAA-East Division third-place finisher Dearborn (16-5-1) to advance.

SALEM 1, ANN ARBOR SKYLINE 0: Fresh off its first district title since 1999, Salem has vowed to stick round a while and has lived up to that vow in the Division 1 state tournament. The Rocks, honorable mention in the polls heading into the state tournament, has now outscored the opposition 8-2 over four games in the postseason, including this 1-0 victory over second-ranked and Southeastern Conference-Red Division champion Ann Arbor Skyline, a senior-laden side. Sophomore leading goal-scorer corralled a pass from senior midfielder Claire Hammill and blasted home a 30-yard shot from space past Skyline All-State Dream Team goalkeeper Sophia Nehro for the game’s only goal. Salem moves to 14-5-5 and into Thursday’s regional finals against unranked Grosse Pointe South. Skyline finishes its stellar season with a 15-2-2 mark.


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