Roennecke’s four goals leads Roeper past Covenant Christian, to first ever state championship
KENTWOOD – Simon Roennecke says it’s not that simple.
The sensational sophomore forward from Birmingham Roeper turned the Division 4 boys soccer state championship matchup against Grand Rapids Covenant Christian into his own personal playground Saturday. He scored four unassisted goals in a stunning 4-2 victory at Pat Patterson Field.
It brought Roeper the school’s first state title in any sport.
“Nah, not really,” Roennecke responded when asked how he made it look so simple scoring three second-half goals to snap a 1-1 halftime tie and four overall. “I got the passes that put me in those positions, but I just felt ‘on’ today. My touch was on. I felt like I could take anyone on. I guess I did.”
He put Roeper (23-1) ahead 1-0 in the eighth minute of the contest.
He dribbled through the Chargers’ defense, into the box and used his right foot to get a low shot past goalkeeper Derek Dykstra. He gave the Roughriders a 2-1 advantage with his right foot in the 45th minute, dribbling left to right before shooting diagonally and slipping a shot into the tight left corner of the net.
His third and fourth goals were mirror images of each other.
He took on three defenders both times and still dribbled past the Chargers to score in the 49th and 62nd minutes. He took passes near midfield and dribbled through the defense both times, using his left foot.
“As a sophomore, to score four goals in the state finals is just incredible. He’s just an opportunity (waiting to happen),” Roeper coach Ed Sack said. “He’s got guts and he’s a competitor.”
It pushed Roennecke’s goal-scoring total to 39 on the season.
“It’s amazing. It’s the greatest day of my soccer career,” he said with a huge mile. “It’s the first time our school has won a state championship for any sport. To have my best game when it matters the most is unbelievable.”
He isn’t even the team’s leading scorer.
Max Whipple, a senior forward, led the team with 40 goals this season. He spent the entire second half, however, playing defense while Roennecke used a combination of speed and balance to burn the Chargers (21-4-2).
“I think what a lot of people didn’t recognize was the Oakland County leading goal scorer, Max Whipple, was playing defense in the second half,” Sack said. “So, how unselfish is that?”
It marked the Chargers’ third consecutive state finals appearance.
“It’s not something many schools can say they’ve done,” said Covenant Christian coach Mike Noorman, whose program still seeks its first title. “For our program, as a whole, it’s something the soccer side of things is going to benefit from in the future. As the players in the program move forward, they’re going to leave an even better legacy. Those are some strong men and some committed individuals.
“That’s why we can do this three years in a row,” he added, “because of the quality guys we have coming through our school.”
Colin Riemersma, a junior forward, scored both Covenant Christian goals.
He tied it up 1-1when he took a touch pass and controlled the ball with his left foot and then ripped a short shot into the net with his right foot in the 11th minute. He scored again off a rebound in the 75th minute.
Those were his eighth and ninth goals of the postseason.
“It’s something to be proud of,” Riemersma said of reaching three state title games in a row. “We’ve worked hard. We’ve gone a long way, we just haven’t finished yet. It’ll come, though.”
Roeper outscored opponents 29-4 throughout the state tournament.