Behind a pair of second-half goals, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central captured its first Division 1 girls soccer state championship with a 2-0 win over Grand Blanc on Saturday.
Bailey Korhorn struck 10 minutes into the second the half, and Ashley Ward put Forest Hills Central in full command with 15 minutes remaining.
Forest Hills Central (21-0-4) has three Division 2 championships to its credit (2005, 2007, 2008). The last one came in coach Jeremy Stacy’s first season at the helm and the program’s last in Division 2.
“It feels really good,” Stacy said. “It was a cool atmosphere. It’s always fun to be in the state final, but it is much cooler to be on the winning end.”
The back and forth action in the first half showed how evenly matched these teams were. Forest Hills Central outshot Grand Blanc 5-4 during the game’s first 40 minutes.
But then came the onslaught. Though Grand Blanc was able to up its total shot attempts to six in the second half, Forest Hills Central was on a mission, firing nine shots towards the net after halftime.
“As soon as I saw (the ball) hit the back of the net, it was unreal,” Korhorn said of her winner. “It was the best feeling of my life.”
Grand Blanc is now 0-3 in state title games (2004, 2015).
Division 4: Lansing Christian triumphs in shootout
After 80 minutes of scoreless soccer sent the game to overtime, Lansing Christian and Kalamazoo Christian were each able to put one in the back of the net to force a decisive shootout.
It was there that Lansing Christian, which dominated possession all game, finally broke through to capture its first state title with a 1-1 (4-2) victory.
Lansing Christian (23-2-2) forced Kalamazoo Christian goalie Allyson Kranstz to make 12 saves in regulation before finally putting one past her in the first overtime period on a Rilyn Ross strike.
Kalamazoo Christian (20-3-3) struck back in stunning fashion in the second overtime session with just over three minutes left when Lauryn Mohney found the back of the net.
In the shootout, it was an Eliza Lewis strike that sealed the deal for Lansing Christian.
Birmingham Marian 2, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 1
Flint Powers Catholic 4, Freeland 0
Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 2, Grand Blanc 0
Lansing Christian 1, Kalamazoo Christian 1 (Lansing Christian in shootout, 4-2)
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.