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Country Day and Marian girls soccer fall in respective state finals

MASON — Hudsonville Unity Christian used a dominant second half to claim its eighth Division 3 state championship since 2005.

The Crusaders beat Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day 3-1 June 14 at Mason High in the Division 3 final. This was the third time Unity Christian beat the Yellowjackets in a state final.

The Crusaders trailed 1-0 in the first half before taking over.

Senior Aubrey Schierbeek said her coach, Randy Heethuis, told them at the break that he was fully confident that they would bounce back.

“It was something we needed to hear to know that we could do it,” she said.

Schierbeek led the charge with two goals and an assist.

“In the first half, Country Day came out and played the way Country Day wanted to play,” Heethuis said. “Then in the second half, we played the way we wanted to play.”

The Crusaders led Country Day 14-5 in shots, with the Yellowjackets’ lone goal coming from senior Michelle Manning unassisted four minutes into the game. 

Country Day freshman Isabel Nino finished with 13 saves compared to three by Unity Christian senior Abby Veeneman.

“We had our chances, we just didn’t finish them,” Country Day coach Bob Bukari said. “They kind of exposed our defense.”

The Yellowjackets finish the season 21-4-3 and the Crusaders end 23-1.

Division 2

WILLIAMSTON — In a rematch of last year’s final, Richland Gull Lake beat Bloomfield Hills Marian 2-1 to defend its title June 14 at Williamston High.

“They throw a lot of players at you, and they’re very fit and well coached,” Marian coach Barry Brodsky said. “They’re a quality team and a quality program.”

Gull Lake struck first on a corner kick that deflected off of a Marian player with 24:03 left in the first half. Sophomore Riley Wisser was credited with the goal.

Marian wouldn’t trail long in the second half, scoring five minutes into the session when junior Jaclyn Engel found freshman Ellie Deconinck in lone in front of the net to put the pass away.

After trading opportunities, the Blue Devils found the back of the net with just more than 20 minutes left in the game when senior Sydney Nikitas put away a crossing pass from junior Amanda Paveltic in front of the net.

The Mustangs would have their chances again, getting two corner kicks and another shot in front of the net all with less than five minutes left in the game, but the Blue Devils turned the shots away each time.

“It’s a game of inches, and they had the inches necessary to win and we didn’t,” Brodsky said.

The Blue Devils led in shots 12-7 and each team had seven corner kicks.

This marked Marian’s first lost of the season, finishing 19-1-1. Gull Lake ends 24-1-1.