Lansing Christian defeats Kalamazoo Christian, 1-0, to take 2nd consecutive D4 title.
Williamston – Kacey Jamieson has watched one her shots soar into the back of the net 198 times.
Friday’s was the most memorable for the Lansing Christian senior.
Jamieson scored the game’s only goal, her 56th of the season, in leading Lansing Christian to a 1-0 victory over Kalamazoo Christian in the Division 4 final at Williamston High School.
“It was a great chance because it was the state championship game,” Jamieson said. “It can’t get much better than that. My final goal is in the state championship game and the last thing I’ll do for LCS. That’s pretty awesome.”
Jamieson, a Miss Soccer finalist, and four-time All-State First Team pick, gave Lansing Christian the only goal it would need with 14:46 left in the first half. Corralling a touch from junior forward Rilyn Ross, Jamieson split two defenders and booted home her final goal of what has been a tremendous career.
“I saw Rilyn Ross was just making hard run and I saw a gap between two defenders I was screaming for her to get me the ball. It was the perfect pass. I was little too far away to get a shot off right away, but I cut it back from the defender and I was able to shoot it the other way,” said Jamieson, who signed with Liberty University.
The second straight state title for the Pilgrims (20-3-1) came as part of five straight trips to the Division 4 semifinals and third state final appearance (2015, 2017, 2018).
“We got to the semifinals with a great group of seniors four years ago and I just said we had a great group of freshmen coming up,” said Lansing Christian coach Joel Vande Kopple. “What a great group that turned out to be. We’ve been here three times in four years and to win twice.”
Kalamazoo Christian (20-3-4) had a few chances in the first five minutes. After that, the Comets struggled to get the ball out of their side of the pitch.
Lansing Christian outshot Kalamazoo Christian by a 26-9 margin, including 12-5 with shots on frame, and even had ample crosses and penetration into Kalamazoo Christian’s penalty box.
Kalamazoo Christian goalkeeper Jenna Blackwell was quite active, turning aside 11 shots and numerous through balls and crosses. Blackwell was just as effective in last year’s state finals, a game where the Comets lost 2-1 in shootout.
Kalamazoo Christian coach Jay Allen was frustrated in his team’s inability to net the equalizer. The Comets pushed up extra forwards in the final 20 minutes but to no avail.
“I’m just proud of our girls for getting back here. We beat some good teams to give us another chance,” said Allen. “It’s so difficult to get here. We were hoping for (some late-game) magic and tie it up in the second half, but we just couldn’t get one to go in.”
Lansing Christian senior goalkeeper Lynn Cullens made five saves for her team’s 17th shutout and punched aside a couple of corner kicks out of harm’s way in the second half. Kalamazoo Christian held a 6-5 edge on corner kicks with four of the Comets’ corners coming in the final 12 minutes, including three in a span of one minute.
Lansing Christian did not give up a goal in six tournament games, outscoring the opposition 27-0 in the postseason. In fact, the Pilgrims yielded just one goal in their final 11 games and outscored 25 opponents 134-16 for the season.
“Our defense has been incredible,” said Vande Kopple. “They don’t get involved (in the scoring much) but we did not give up a single goal in the tournament. We were hard to score on all season. There was only one team that scored more than two goals on us. We couldn’t have done this without our defense playing the way they did.
“It was a little nerve-racking in the final (20 minutes). They had a couple of corners and a couple of chances and I thought they might score and take us to penalties again. My stomach was up in my throat. But we found a way,” added Vande Kopple. “