Country Day soccer players earn All-State honors

By: Jacob Herbert | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published June 28, 2019

 Country Day sophomore Lila Beinhold takes a goal kick in a game earlier this season. During her second year with the team, Beinhold let up just eight goals all season and recorded 11 shutouts.

Country Day sophomore Lila Beinhold takes a goal kick in a game earlier this season. During her second year with the team, Beinhold let up just eight goals all season and recorded 11 shutouts.

Photo by Leanne Weinerth

 Recent Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day graduates Elle Hartje, left, and Kennedy Bearden will continue their playing careers in college next season as Hartje heads to Yale and Bearden to Grand Valley State University.

Recent Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day graduates Elle Hartje, left, and Kennedy Bearden will continue their playing careers in college next season as Hartje heads to Yale and Bearden to Grand Valley State University.

Photo by Jacob Herbert

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BEVERLY HILLS — Though it ended earlier than it had hoped, the Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day girls soccer team had a strong season.

The Yellowjackets finished 15-2 overall and scored a grand total of 68 goals.

It was due in part to those numbers that Country Day had three players earn Division 2 first team All-State selections. Sophomore Lila Beinhold, and seniors Elle Hartje and Kennedy Bearden all received a text from coach Laura Hamway with the news before it was made available to the public.

“It was really exciting,” Hartje said. “Unfortunately our season ended earlier this year than we would have liked and when that happens it’s hard for anyone on your team to get recognition. We had three people, which was just amazing. It’s a tangible reflection of the work we put in and how well we did.”

Hartje, who was named to the honorable mention team as a sophomore, was a multisport athlete during her time at Country Day. She also excelled on the ice and the tennis courts. She will attend Yale University next season and suit up as both a hockey and soccer player for the Bulldogs.

Hartje said playing soccer at Country Day taught her how to adapt on the fly. She has played both travel and high school soccer and noted how both have prepared her for the next level.

“High school and travel are very different, so getting to have the different experiences will prepare me for college because that I’m sure is going to be very different as well,” she said. “So it’s just getting in uncomfortable situations, figuring out how to deal with it and make the best of it.”

As a freshman, Bearden had already earned a spot on the D-2 third team All-State list. She was on that list again when her sophomore season concluded.

Bearden will go on to play soccer at Grand Valley State University next season and said it felt great to go out on top.

“I wanted to end my career with a bang and have something I can always look back on. It’s always a goal of mine, but it’s not all about All-State. That’s always great, but I really just want my team to do well. I think we had a great season, that’s the biggest award to me, but it was great to get All-State.”

That’s what it’s always been about for both recent graduates — the team. Bearden called this year’s team one of the most talented groups of girls she’s ever played with.

As she prepares to put on the Lakers uniform next season, Bearden said she’d do so with numerous lessons learned from her DCD career.

“High school soccer taught me so much. It taught me grit. I transformed as a player because of high school. I learned so much from my teammates about how to work with different types of people. Country Day soccer is truly something special,” she said.

As special as the Yellowjackets offense was, the defense and goaltender Lila Bienhold also played a prominent role in the team’s success.

Bienhold, who earned D-3 third team All-State honors a freshman, only let in eight goals all season and recorded 11 clean sheets.

Bienhold said confidence was something she struggled with when she started her high school career, but being honorable mention as a freshman helped turn that around. That confidence continued to build throughout this season and resulted in being recognized as one of the best.

“I was sitting in my room when I get a text from my coach, and I couldn’t really believe it,” Bienhold said. “I ran straight to my dad and we were all freaking out.”

Bienhold will guard the Country Day net for two more seasons, which means two more opportunities to earn All-State honors. Just as building confidence was her goal this season, next year her hope is to become more of a leader on the team.

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