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GIRLS SOCCER DIVISION 1 FINALS: Bosley’s late goal s help Stoney Creek rally for second state title



BY DAN STICKRADT

WEB AND CONTENT EDITOR

C: 248-884-1051

TW: @LocalSportsFans


EAST LANSING – You can’t stop her, you can only hope to contain her.


Rochester Stoney Creek’s Lilley Bosley proved that one last time as a high school senior.

In heroic fashion, the reigning Miss Soccer and University of Michigan signee scored two goals in the final 10 minutes to rally the third-ranked Cougars past fourth-ranked Hudsonville in the Division 1 state finals at Michigan State University’s DeMartin Stadium.


It marked Stoney Creek’s second state title in its 21-year history and third state finals appearance. The Cougars lost in the Division 2 state finals in 2005 to Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (3-0) before winning the Division 1 state title back in 2016 over Plymouth Canton (1-0).


The game-winning goal came following a restart, where the Cougars have been so dangerous this season.


“I would say that we score a lot of our goals on (restarts). Ava Avripas and Kaeli Butcher are fantastic on corners so we work on those a lot in practice,” offered Bosley, who plays club ball with Liverpool FC seven-month ECNL team which affords her the opportunity to play high school. “Kaeli placed it perfectly and I got on the end of it to ricochet it into the goal.”


The Cougars had a little bit of divine intervention from former All-State player Emily Victoria Solek, who scored the game-winning goal in the 2016 state championship victory. She was tragically killed in an auto accident on June 19, 2020, just two days after her 21st birthday. The state title came seven years to the day from the first state title.


The fourth Solek sister, Lily, is the starting center back on the Cougars’ roster this season.


“(This was) awesome (winning it). We all talked about it. We wrote her initials ‘E.V.S.’ on our wrists. I think most of our team or all of our team did,” said Bosley. “We just wanted to play for Lily and her family because Emily scored the game-winning goal seven years ago today on her birthday. Today is her birthday. We wanted to do it for her and her family.”


It was Stoney Creek’s third come-from-behind victory in the tournament.


“I was saying (earlier) we had a huge senior class and even the underclassmen that we have been working so hard but it unfortunately ended short the past two years,” continued Bosley. “It is so awesome to do this as a team and for a lot of them this is going to be their last game so we all worked hard and really wanted to win it.”


Down 1-0, Bosley tied the game with just 8:41 to play. Megan Kennedy -- one of 13 seniors on Stoney Creek’s roster -- chipped a ball into the box and Bosley was able to slip behind the Hudsonville defense and volley home a shot from eight yards out.


Stoney Creek netted the game-winner with only 1:49 to play. The Cougars switched to senior Kaeli Butcher to take a cornerkick and Butcher’s strike went into the goal mouth to an onrushing Bosley, who headed in the ball for her 42nd goal of the season – which proved to be the biggest of her prep career where she scored 87 goals in three seasons.


Bryan Mittelstadt, Stoney Creek’s veteran coach, was all smiles after Bosley and company banded together for the come-from-behind victory.


“We had a game plan. I just didn’t think we have to wait until the final 10 minutes to come back,” said Mittelstadt, who is in his 13th season at the helm and 2-0 in title games during his tenure. “We kept pressing and pressing and were able to come back and get those two late goals.


“Lilley Bosley came through for us like she has all season,” continued Mittelstadt. “We had a couple of nice crosses, one on the cornerkick, and she found a way to get it into the goal. This was a great effort because Hudsonville is very dangerous and we had to keep pressing to get those two goals. Any way we can get them and fortunately it came late in the second half.”

Stoney Creek (26-1-1) won all seven games in the postseason against teams that were ranked at least one week in the Top 15 Division 1 rankings or listed as honorable mention. The Cougars outscored the opposition 14-5 in the postseason with three shutouts and 85-11 with 19 total shutouts for the season.


Hudsonville (19-3-2) grabbed a 1-0 lead following its first two shots of the contest with 27:56 to go in the first half. Junior midfielder Kendall Aikens unleashed a long shot that rang off the crossbar and senior forward Raeleigh Woodwyk was there to clean up the rebound before Stoney Creek sophomore goalkeeper Merrick Schwalbach could recover.


The Eagles held on for the 1-0 lead at the half.


Stoney Creek controlled play for most of the second half before the two late goals sealed the deal. The Cougars held a 14-9 shots edge in the contest, including 7-5 with shots on goal, and also held a 6-4 edge in cornerkicks.


Schwalbach made four saves for Stoney Creek. Reid DeGoede and Clara Feenstra combined for five saves in the defeat.


Hudsonville coach Holly VanNoord finished 3-1 in state title games during her prep days at Hudsonville Unity Christian and knows that sometimes players or teams can force a coach to alter a game plan.


“Bosley is an incredible player. She’s one of the best players we’ve seen all season and there’s a reason why she was Miss Soccer last year,” said Van Noord. “She’s not the only dynamic player out there. Stoney Creek has so good players surrounding her and I think that we had to adjust our own style of play just to defend them. It’s all credit to them (for coming back on us).”


Hudsonville had never advanced beyond the regional finals before this year and made it first state finals appearance in its first trip to the Final Four. The Eagles, who have several future college players, also ran the gauntlet against several top 15 or honorable mention schools just to get to the season’s final weekend.


“I think (strength of schedule) is why we are here today,” continued VanNoord, whose team’s only three losses were to top 10 teams in Division 1. “We had a super tough schedule. We kind of prepared for it kind of like just going at it all season. We knew we wanted to make it to the state finals. The only way we could do that was to play tough opponents. Stoney (Creek) is one of the best in the state so it was awesome to see what we are capable of against (teams like them). We had to make adjustments against them that we hadn’t had to make in the previous seasons.”


Hudsonville’s best year in school history featured a 71-12 scoring edge with 15 shutouts. The Eagles posted a 13-3-2 record against teams that were ranked or honorable mention in one of the four divisions at times this season.


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