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Girls varsity soccer wins districts, overcomes complications

The girls varsity team hoists up their district trophy.

The girls varsity team hoists up their district trophy.

Photo credit: Girls Varsity Soccer Team

Photo credit: Girls Varsity Soccer Team

The girls varsity team hoists up their district trophy.

Players jump in victory. A crowd jumps to their feet in excitement. The girls varsity soccer team did it–they won districts for the first time since head coach Olivia Stander played for the team in 2008 on June 4.

But then the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) laid down the law. Stripped of their district title and ineligible for states, the team had an uphill battle to face before their regional game against Troy Athens High School on June 7. They ended up being allowed to play, but lost 0-1 in the semi-finals.

“It was heartbreaking and unfair to see something we earned threatened to be taken away, but we are still district champs,” senior captain Elaina Emig said.

It was heartbreaking and unfair to see something we earned threatened to be taken away, but we are still district champs.”

— Elaina Emig

In a normal season the team is supposed to play 18 games and 4 scrimmages. But, because of miscommunication and a technicality, it was recorded that they played 20 games and 2 scrimmages. MHSAA officials believed this gave them an unfair advantage, having been in a game setting more than their opponents, and decided that they would be disqualified from the post-season.

The MHSAA received an anonymous complaint that alleged that our girls soccer team played too many games. Upon careful review and working with our parents, we determined that we had played an allowable number of soccer events for the season,” athletic director Brian Shelson said via email. “The MHSAA disagreed with our conclusions and disqualified us from continuing in the state soccer playoffs.”

Still believing that the MHSAA’s ruling was unjust, team parents acquired a lawyer to file a suit on behalf of the team. The team received support from the district’s lawyer, which helped give their case some weight.

“The district partnering with some of our parents sought and obtained a temporary restraining order allowing our girls to play against Troy Athens,” Shelson said.

The team found out they were able to play at 1 p.m. on the first day of regionals, just six-and-a-half hours before the start time of their first game. Team members took to Twitter to celebrate and announce their official participation.

Their slogan for the season was, “This is our year.” Ending the regular season with a 17-3 record, they were expected to advance quite far in regionals. Some players believe that because of the MHSAA ruling, they had a different approach to the game.

I think that the team was emotionally worn out but we agreed we had to come out harder than we ever have before,” sophomore Greta DeLoach said.


A team photo after the girls captured their district championship.

Managing to keep Troy Athens at bay for the first half of the game, the team lost after a second-half goal.

For Emig, just being able to play was an impressive way to end the post-season.

It was amazing to have all of our hard work as a team pay off,” Emig said. “It was a great way to end my last season.”

Though their regional advancement stopped, they managed to make a record season. The team beat South High School on three separate occasions, making it the first North versus South win for any senior on the team. They were also district champions for the first time in eight years. Through t-shirt sales and other fundraising they raised $700 to help battle cancer in their annual cancer game. DeLoach and junior Meghan Lowers earned all-state nominations, and DeLoach is in the top 10 goal scorers in the state.

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