East Lansing — Allison LaPoint said she did not lobby Chloe Woodbeck in the Royal Oak Shrine High School hallways to join the school’s soccer team.
Offseason rivals — LaPoint with Vardar and Woodbeck for Michigan Hawks — the junior goalkeeper was aware of the demands asked and development gleaned from high-level club soccer.
But the pair stood tall for Shrine on Saturday, starring in a 4-0 victory against Kalamazoo Christian in the Division 4 final at DeMartin Stadium at Michigan State University.
“I understood why she might want to continue playing travel soccer, but of course we wanted her on the team,” LaPoint said. “So I stayed a little more neutral, but we wanted her, for sure.”
Woodbeck, who joined Shrine for her senior season, scored the game’s first goal, set up the second and moved back to defense late to help LaPoint preserve her 18th shutout of the season.
Shrine coach Mark Soma remembers the moment well when Woodbeck, a Purdue signee, texted him about her decision to join the team.
“I said, ‘If you come play for us, I promise you will win a state title,’” Soma said. “She told me when she came off the field, ‘Your words came true.’
“I said, ‘No, you earned it.’”
The title was the fifth all-time in any sport for Shrine and first since 1974 — the first by a girls’ team. Shrine won the first district title in program history this year.
“The difference about playing for school is the crowd and the amount of people that are here,” said Woodbeck, also a former national club champion. “Having my entire community here and people I don’t even know coming to me, cheering me on … it’s an amazing feeling.
“I’m so happy I can end my high school career doing this.”
Woodback got Shrine (22-1) on the board by chipping a free kick from near the left sideline over the goalkeeper’s head in the 16th minute.
Her pass forward sparked the second goal, as Lily Hotts finished a Jess Reaume cross off Woodbeck’s delivery.
Hotts assisted Bridgette Drouillard’s goal in the second half, and Drouillard returned the favor, assisting Regan Robinson’s goal with 10:24 remaining to close the scoring.
Meanwhile, LaPoint made four saves and was active off the line to quell numerous Kalamazoo Christian attacks.
In the second half, the Central Michigan commit dove for a highlight-reel save on a breakaway, then was quick on her feet to cover the rebound with an opponent closing in on the ball and an open net.
“She doesn’t get tested very much, but we know we can count on Allison for huge saves,” Soma said. “She’s a quality girl and goalkeeper.”
Kalamazoo Christian (21-3-2), coached by Jay Allen, fell to 4-3 in state final games. Goalkeeper Jenna Blackwell had four saves.
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.