It’s inevitable that every good thing must come to an end.
However, in the case of the Okemos girls soccer team’s senior class, there has been enough success to last a lifetime, despite the team’s 3-0 loss to No. 1 Northville in Wednesday’s Division 1 state semifinal at Spring Arbor University.
The defeat ended the celebrated careers of seniors Ashton Miller, Kristelle Yewah and Lauren Zisholz.
“They are as decorated a senior class that has probably come through the Okemos soccer program,” said Chiefs coach Brian Guggemos.
During the four seasons that Yewah played on varsity – and she was joined by Miller and Zisholz for three of those years – Okemos earned four CAAC Blue regular season titles, three CAAC Gold Cup tournament championships, three district titles, two regional crowns, and the 2012 Division 1 state championship.
The one year Okemos didn’t earn a district crown, they defeated No. 1-ranked and host Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central 2-1 in their 2013 district opener before losing 1-0 to Caledonia.
“I think coming in at a young age with a talented crew ahead of us helped us learn a lot,” Miller said. “We tried to bring that each year with the new players, and I think it showed this year. The younger players really learned as the season went on, and we went from losing a couple games in a row to coming to the state semis.”
The Chiefs (13-7-2) started out slow against a speedy Northville team that was dictating the pace of the game. The Mustangs (22-0) had several scoring opportunities in the early stages of the first half, but were not able to connect on goal.
After decelerating the initial attack of Northville, Okemos ended the half with chances of its own, but wasn’t able to put any away.
“It was 0-0 at halftime and I thought we began to settle down during the second part of the first half,” Guggemos said. “I felt like we had 40 minutes to plow through this, but Northville’s a great team. They haven’t done what they’ve done throughout the year without being excellent.”
After another strong start by the Mustangs in the second half, they finally scored their first goal with 27:18 remaining.
Then, within 15 minutes, Northville added two more goals for insurance.
“I’m sad it’s over, but no one thought we would get this far,” Yewah said. “I’m so proud of our team for everything that we’ve done. We went past people’s beliefs and believed in ourselves.”