Bloomfield Hills High School girls soccer celebrates its first-ever regional championship following a 2-1 victory over Hartland High June 9 at Novi Meadows.

Bloomfield Hills High School girls soccer celebrates its first-ever regional championship following a 2-1 victory over Hartland High June 9 at Novi Meadows.

Photo provided by Bobby Robine

Bloomfield Hills soccer champions at last, embrace new beginnings

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published June 29, 2022


BLOOMFIELD HILLS — The Bloomfield Hills High girls soccer program had never experienced a season past the regional championship.

Last season ended in a loss to Troy High in districts, and the Oakland Activities Association-Red Conference proved to be tough early on this season, as Troy Athens and Rochester High handed Bloomfield Hills an early pair of losses.

Through all the adversity, Bloomfield Hills emerged battle-tested and better than ever.

“I think the culture has really grown to a championship-level culture, and of course, we have really talented players,” Bloomfield Hills coach Alan Zakaria said. “Everything came together perfectly for us.”

The championship-level culture lived up to its name as Bloomfield Hills defeated No. 1 ranked Northville 2-1 in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I state championship at Michigan State University’s DeMartin Stadium June 17. Bloomfield Hills earned its first-ever state championship.

“We wanted to be the group to do it and we wanted to be leaders for the younger girls,” senior Drew Martin said. “We definitely talked about that; we definitely envisioned it, and for it to be accomplished is one of the best feelings.”

Senior Ava Badallo opened up the scoring in the state finals as junior Brooke Green set up Badallo as she fired one on the cross. Northville scored on a corner kick with 15 minutes left in the game to tie it up.

As the state finals went to a shootout, sophomore goaltender and first team All-State honoree Jenica Opdahl shined when Bloomfield Hills needed her most.

“She’s one of the best in the state,” Zakaria said.

Making two saves, Opdahl kept the shootout alive for Badallo’s fourth penalty kick goal to be the game-winner for Bloomfield Hills.

Bloomfield Hills’  path in the playoffs included beating some of the best teams in the state.

In a potentially history-making regional championship matchup against Hartland High, the defending state champions, Bloomfield Hills went down 1-0 early in the matchup.

It was nothing Bloomfield Hills wasn’t accustomed to. Martin, a Dream Team selection, buried a free kick 10 minutes later to ease the nerves. Looking to win its first regional title in school history, Badallo was right in the middle of another game-deciding goal.

Badallo received the ball towards midfield, sending a pass to senior Esther Rosett, who blasted the ball past the keeper towards the right post. Bloomfield Hills’ defense remained strong en route to its first regional championship in school history.

Badallo, Martin, Rosett and senior Alice Spiegel, who earned an All-State selection, led an offensive group that averaged more than three goals per game.

Needing an offensive spark, Badallo would once again answer the call when Bloomfield Hills needed it most in a 0-0 deadlock against Portage Central High in the semifinal round of the playoffs.

Badallo scored the lone goal with 13 minutes left in the first half as Bloomfield Hills’ defense sealed the win.

Bloomfield Hills’ defense has been impressive all year, earning 11 shutouts on the year, including three in the playoffs.

“We always talk about how we want all 11 players to defend,” Zakaria said. “It’s team defense; it really starts with our front line.”

The defensive unit is led by senior Emma Merchant, junior Charlotte Carleton, junior Lola Halsband and sophomore Tess Wright.

Bloomfield Hills came into the playoffs having last lost a game on April 19 against Rochester.

Merchant, Spiegel, Martin, Badallo and Rosett were key leaders on the team. Zakaria said their leadership will play a vital part for next year’s team.

“We’ve had some great leaders in the last two to three years that have really set it up for this group, and then we have girls this year who really set it up for the young girls coming up next year,” Zakaria said.

Bloomfield Hills has established itself as one of the top teams in the state and will look to continue its success next season.

“We’re going to attack a new season with a new group,” Zakaria said.