Rochester Adams and Jackson Lumen Christi crowned champions

East Lansing – Rochester Adams and Jackson Lumen Christi were the first two champions crowned to open the MHSAA girls soccer tournament weekend.

Rochester Adams defeated Hartland 2-0 for the Division 1 title, while Lumen Christi defeated reigning Division 4 state champion Kalamazoo Christian with a 2-1 win in a shootout.

Rochester Adams 2, Hartland 0

Rochester Adams won its first state title since 1999 with the victory over Hartland.

The team took a lead about halfway through the first and held it until the final minutes of the second half, when junior Sadie Rogers cooled the game with the team’s second and final goal.

“We knew we had something special, just chemistry, unity, resilience, hard work, going above and beyond and talent as well,” Rochester Adams head coach Josh Hickey said. “The further we got, the more we knew we could do it.”

Senior Evelyn Kekhoua opened the scoring for Rochester Adams less than 20 minutes into the match with a great header.

“(Evelyn’s) a top player, an absolute top player to score a goal like that,” Hickey said.

Especially in the second half, the team tightened up defensively after the goal. Hartland had plenty of possession and even some solid pressure in the attacking zone, but Rochester Adams ensured that most of the opponent’s shots did not find the frame.

“That (opening goal) was huge because that puts pressure on them and then opens the game for us,” Hickey said. “It also puts you on your heels, because now you have to defend that lead.”

Senior Danielle Danko earned assists on both of Adams’ goals, surrounding defenders and putting her teammates in top-scoring situations. Sophomore goalkeeper Lexi Calcamuggio also had a strong game for the victors, making four saves and a clean sheet.

More than 15 minutes passed without a goal being scored to start the match. But it wasn’t a sloppy, sloppy scoreless play. There were plenty of scoring opportunities. There were corners and close calls at both ends of the pitch as the pace remained high.

Rochester Adams was the first to finally strike. Danko delivered a near-perfect pass over the goalkeeper from just inside the penalty area, sending the ball into the best scoring area. Kekhoua capitalized on the sharp play with a header and smashed the ball past the goalkeeper, giving her team an early 1-0 lead.

After the opening goal, the scoring opportunities diminished, but both teams continued to show their fitness by racing up and down the field. The first half ended without another goal, with Rochester Adams holding onto a 1–0 lead.

Hartland began tilting the field towards the Rochester Adams end and retained possession more often to open the second half, chasing the equalizer. Hartland continued to make shots, but not many actually managed to land between the sticks.

Rochester Adams seemed content to play defense and kick the ball away towards Hartland’s end for much of the second half.

However, in the final minutes of the match, the team responded with some pressure of their own. Danko notched her second assist of the afternoon when Rogers scored the icing on the cake with less than five minutes to go, all but ensuring Rochester Adams a win in the state finals.

Jackson Lumen Christi 2, Kalamazoo Christian 1 (shootout)

Jackson Lumen Christi won its first state title in dramatic fashion, fending off the reigning champion, Kalamazoo Christian, in a shootout.

“I knew we had the right group for it, we just had to make sure everything else fell into place,” Lumen Christi head coach Blake Newman-Gillig said. “And it did, it worked in our favor today.”

Senior goaltender Izzy Ermatinger secured the victory for her team in the shootout. Not only did she stop three Kalamazoo Christian shots, she also scored a goal for Lumen Christi on the team’s first attempt.

Lumen Christi set the tone of the match after just four minutes thanks to a goal from sophomore Codi Ruge.

Alex Faber is a freelance writer.