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BOYS SOCCER: Western Michigan Christian wins shootout over University Liggett to claim D4 title, end years of frustration

By: DAN STICKRADT, November 2, 2019, 8:03 pm

NOVI — Years of frustration finally ended for state powerhouse Muskegon Western Michigan Christian.

Another shootout — but this time it was victorious for the Warriors.

Fourth-ranked Western Michigan Christian earned a 1-0 shootout victory over second-ranked Grosse Pointe Woods University-Liggett in the Division 4 state finals Saturday at Novi High School for its seventh all-time state title, but first since 2010.

It took a superhero-type performance from senior goalkeeper Jameson Goorman to provide the edge for the Warriors, who are now 7-for-7 in state title games.

After giving up a penalty to Liggett’s Matthew Summers on the Knights’ first attempt, Goorman dove to his right to make stops on four straight penalties to give Western Michigan Christian the victory.

Goorman, an All-State Third Team selection last season, recorded eight saves throughout more than 100 minutes. But he was lights-out on Liggett in the shootout.

“I also believe that I can save every shot (in a shootout),” said Goorman. “I can almost read them. I know if they are lining up straight they are probably going left and if they are on an angle probably going (to their) left. I just read it. I just did my best and was able to stop some (shots).”

Senior Brenden Fles and Isaac VanHoeven converted their penalty shots in the shootout, with VanHoeven scoring his moments before Goorman’s final game-winning save.

“I have never seen a keeper make four saves in a shootout like that — ever,” said longtime Western Michigan Christian coach Dave Hullings. “Jamo was amazing. To be able to that was incredible.

“What is also incredible is that we haven’t given up a goal (in regular play) in the tournament in four years, and even lost in a shootout the last four seasons,” said Hullings. “To finally get back to the finals and to win it this way with our keeper stopping four in a shootout is absolutely amazing.”

Goorman has been in net before for shootouts, including against Grandville Calvin Christian in the regional finals. The Warriors (19-2-3) defeated top-ranked Calvin Christian in a shootout (1-0), while WMC also defeated No. 2 Liggett, No. 5 Danville (2-0) in semifinals and No. 3 North Muskegon (3-0) in the regional semifinals.

“What a run,” said Hullings. “We beat the No. 1, No., No. 3 and No. 5 teams in the state to win this title. I would say that we earned it.”

It was game of inches and near misses for both sides. Liggett held a narrow 16-13 shots edge over 100 minutes of play, while both sides traded off eight shots on frame.

“We hadn’t seen two forwards on the same team quite like Liggett’s forwards,” said Hullings.  “Brandon Fles did a great job holding our defense together and helping shut those two down and Jamo was great in goal,” said Hullings.

Liggett came in with a 4-3 all-time record in state finals appearances and were inches from perhaps winning this game. It was the Knights’ first state title game since 1999.

“It was a great high school soccer game. We made a great run and I thought we had some great chances in the second half,” said Liggett fifth-year coach David Dwaihy. “In the first half we didn’t play all that great. I thought our goalkeeper was great in the first half and we were fortunate enough they didn’t make us pay with some great chances.

“In the second half, I told them we have 40 minutes to make a good account for of ourselves and I thought we turned it around. I was thrilled with the second half and we played well in overtime, even with the tired legs,” continued Dwaihy. “We just couldn’t put one in and their goalie was fantastic. Unfortunately the goal didn’t come. Between their goalie and back line (WMC) was going to be tough to beat.”

Sam Sword made eight saves prior to the shootout and two saves in the shootout for Liggett (18-3-1), which held a 19-3 scoring edge in the postseason entering the finals match.