The Kalamazoo Christian soccer team is headed back to the Division 4 state championship following Tuesday’s semifinal win 2-1 in penalty kicks over North Muskegon. Like last season, the Comets will duel Lansing Christian in the final and you can listen Friday live via JoeInsider.com with a 1 p.m. start from Williamston High School.
The third-ranked Comets were taken to the brink Tuesday against the top-ranked and unbeaten North Muskegon squad, which had allowed only one goal all season. After a scoreless first half, the Norse went ahead almost immediately to start the second on a Sophie Mueller goal.
K-Christian finally found the equalizer in the final five minutes of regulation. Sarah Miller’s often potent corner kick found Kayla Beebe to force overtime. Both teams held firm, with a few key saves in extra time by Comet goalkeeper Jenna Blackwell. K-Christian then claimed the penalty kick shootout 4-1 to setup the championship rematch with Lansing Christian.
The Comets come into the championship at 20-2-4, with one of their ties coming in a scoreless regular season tournament contest against the Pilgrims on April 28. For second-ranked Lansing Christian, they’re 19-3-2 and have outscored playoff foes 26-0. Their closest game was their semifinal Tuesday, a 3-0 win over University Liggett.
Like the regular season rematch this April, last year’s state final was scoreless after 80 minutes of regulation. The Pilgrims broke through in the 83rd minute on a Rilyn Ross goal for the lead, but the Comets were able to tie the game with 3:03 remaining with an Abbey VanDongen header off a corner kick.
In the shootout, Lansing Christian won 4-2 to claim their first state title in their third try, having fallen just shy in 2015 and 2011.
Friday’s championship will be Kalamazoo Christian’s sixth appearance in the big game. Last season was their first-time as the runner-up, as they took home the hardware in 2008, 07, 04, and 03.
Many familiar faces will take to the pitch, with K-Christian only graduating seven seniors from last season’s team and Lansing Christian losing only four. The contest is likely to be another intense matchup and you can listen to all of the action live via JoeInsider.com with a 1 p.m. ET kickoff Friday from Williamston.