When the 2019 boys’ soccer season wrapped up, one Downriver-area team hoisted a state championship trophy and another came away as a state runner up.
After a long run of impressive seasons, Grosse Ile finally reached the top of the mountain with a Division 3 state title. The Red Devils defeated Grand Rapids South Christian 2-1 in an overtime shootout to capture the D3 crown. It followed up a state runner-up finish the year before.
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Melvindale advanced all the way to the D2 state finals, where it gave Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern a battle before falling by a score of 2-0.
Grosse Ile was 24-2-1 overall and gave up only 14 goals. The Devils were 14-0 in the Huron League and took first place for the fifth year in a row.
In the postseason, Grosse Ile won its 11th consecutive district title, reached a regional final for the sixth year in a row and won its second consecutive regional crown. The Devils edged Macomb Lutheran North 1-0 in the state semifinals.
Melvindale (16-4-2, 7-1-1 WWAC) won its second consecutive district championship with a victory over Allen Park. The Cards went on to beat Tecumseh in the regional semis and they topped Parma Western for their first-ever regional title. In the state semis, Melvindale defeated Fenton in overtime.
In the regular season, the Cards finished second in the WWAC in what was their first year in the conference.
In the Downriver League, Woodhaven (16-6, 11-0 DRL) won its second consecutive league title. The Warriors defeated Bedford and Edsel Ford in the first two rounds of the district playoffs but ran into a tough Dearborn team in the finals and saw their season come to an end.
Allen Park (11-7, 8-3 DRL) took second place in the league and was followed by Trenton (8-6-1, 6-5 DRL) in third and Lincoln Park (8-9, 5-6 DRL) in fifth. Allen Park beat Trenton in the district semis before falling to Melvindale in the finals. Trenton had advanced to the semis with a win over Gibraltar Carlson (4-11-1, 4-5-1 DRL).
Carlson was sixth in the league and was followed by Taylor High (8-9-2, 4-6-2 DRL), Wyandotte Roosevelt (4-13-1, 1-7-1 DRL) and Southgate Anderson (2-16-1, 1-9 DRL).
In the Huron League, New Boston Huron (14-5-2, 10-3-1 Huron League) finished in a second-place tie with Monroe SMCC. The Chiefs topped Adrian in the district semis and fell to Tecumseh in the finals.
Riverview (12-7-3, 8-4 Huron League) was next in the standings behind Huron and SMCC. The Pirates got by Anderson in the first round of districts and then lost to Melvindale in the semis.
In addition, Flat Rock (1-17-1, 0-13-1 Huron League) finished eighth in the league.
Allen Park Inter-City Baptist (12-7, 6-4 MIAC Blue) placed fourth in the MIAC Blue and then put together a strong postseason run.
The Chargers dominated Allen Park Cabrini in the district semis and then defeated Riverview Gabriel Richard in overtime of the finals.
Inter-City blanked Plymouth Christian in the first round of regionals. Three days later, the Chargers ran into Liggett and their season came to an end.
In the Catholic League, Richard (7-6, 4-4 CHSL Intersectional 1) finished third in its division and Cabrini (3-15-2, 0-8 CHSL Intersectional 1) was fifth.
Richard had advanced to the district finals with a win over Hope of Detroit Academy in the semis.
Romulus Summit Academy finished 2019 with an overall record of 7-8-2. The Dragons gave Airport a battle in the first round of districts but ultimately fell 3-2 in an overtime shootout.
Meet the 2019 All-News-Herald 1st Team
Antonio Bogataj, Grosse Ile: Bogataj played a huge role in Grosse Ile’s run to a state title. The senior defender and first-team all-state honoree helped guide the Red Devils to 17 shutouts, including six in the playoffs. Offensively, he scored seven goals and picked up four assists.
Fouad Noman, Melvindale: Noman played a huge role in Melvindale’s run to the state championship game. The junior forward and first-team all-state honoree netted 19 goals. Along the way he scored twice in the team’s first-round playoff win over Cesar Chavez.
Josh Vernier, Woodhaven: In his final season at Woodhaven, Vernier helped guide the team to another league title. The senior midfielder and All-Downriver League selection was dominant on both ends of the pitch and wrapped up with 15 goals and 14 assists. He has signed on to play at Siena Heights.
Joe Duke, Grosse Ile: Duke was one of four Grosse Ile players who earned first-team all-state. The senior forward scored 28 goals on the way to the squad’s state title. He also picked up 16 assists, including one in the state semifinals.
Sal Marchionda, Huron: After a big junior year with Huron, Marchionda was back on the pitch in 2019. The versatile senior, who earned an all-state honorable mention, finished 2019 with 17 goals and five assists.
Gustavo Soto, Riverview: Soto was one of the top scoring threats in the area in what was his junior season at Riverview. The forward and all-state honorable mention scored 25 goals for the Pirates and he picked up 11 assists.
Kaleb Chelli, Inter-City: Chelli picked up second-team all-state honors in 2019. The junior forward scored 18 goals and he finished with eight assists. He had a hat trick in the district championship game and scored once in the regional semis.
Alex Hernandez, Allen Park: Hernandez helped guide Allen Park to a strong season in 2019. The junior forward and all-state honorable mention scored 15 goals and he picked up six assists along the way.
Julian Castillo, Melvindale: Castillo closed out his high school soccer career with another impressive season. The senior goalkeeper and second-team all-state honoree posted seven shutouts and he made more than 300 total saves. He only gave up two goals in the state championship game and didn’t allow more than one in any other playoff contest.
Brendan Robbins, Huron: Robbins closed out his high school soccer career with another solid season at Huron. The senior midfielder and all-state honorable mention served as a leader for the Chiefs. He finished with 16 goals and 10 assists.
Luke Yops, Grosse Ile: Yops was a big reason why opposing teams scored only 14 goals against Grosse Ile. The senior defender and first-team all-state honoree shut down some of the state’s top players. Offensively, he netted a trio of goals and earned eight assists.
Keegan O’Callaghan, Trenton: O’Callaghan, a junior, gave Trenton a lot to look forward to next season. The midfielder and all-state honorable mention scored 27 goals for the Trojans and he was credited with 10 assists.
Adam Skehan, Grosse Ile: Skehan stepped into the starting goalkeeper spot and was a huge factor in the team winning a state title. The senior and first-team all-state honoree posted 17 shutouts, which tied him for fourth all-time in the state. In the state finals, a diving save by Skehan in the overtime shootout clinched the state championship.
Alhusain Yahya, Melvindale: Yahya served as a leader for Melvindale and was a big reason for the team’s impressive season. The senior forward finished with 19 goals and 15 assists. He scored twice in the regional semis and he had a goal and an assist in the regional finals.
Max Aston, Grosse Ile: Aston, a senior, was instrumental in Grosse Ile’s 2019 state championship. The senior midfielder and second-team all-state honoree helped the Red Devils shut teams down and he contributed heavily on the offensive end with 14 goals and 11 assists.
Alex Demorrow, Allen Park: Demorrow was one of two Allen Park players who earned an all-state honorable mention. The junior midfielder wrapped up the season with 13 goals and he earned 10 assists.
Luc Kawadri, Grosse Ile: Kawadri earned second-team all-state honors for 2019. The senior midfielder scored 10 goals and was credited with 12 assists. He also helped to shut down opposing teams in a year where the squad allowed only 14 goals.
Alhasan Yahya, Melvindale: Yahya helped guide Melvindale to the state championship game. The senior midfielder and all-state honorable mention came up big on both ends of the pitch. Offensively, he netted a goal in the regional championship game and scored once in the state semifinals.
Ricky Emelian, Huron: Emelian, a junior, was described as the “backbone of the entire Chiefs team” by Huron coach Matt Lividini. The First-Team All-Huron League honoree served as a midfielder for the Chiefs and was a dominant force all year. Offensively, he netted three goals and had six assists.
Salvador de la Torre, Riverview: In his junior year, De La Torre came up big for Riverview as a midfielder. The Second-Team All-Huron League honoree scored 12 goals and he picked up 16 assists.
Ethan Lividini, Inter-City: Lividini, a senior, finished up his high school soccer career with an extraordinary season at Inter-City. The midfielder and third-team all-state honoree scored 15 goals and he earned seven assists.
Matthew Arble, Allen Park: Arble, a senior, was described as “the glue in the middle of the field” by Allen Park coach Lee Hunt. The senior picked up All-Downriver League honors for 2019. Along the way he scored one goal and earned a trio of assists.
Chase Karagitz, Woodhaven: Karagitz shined for Woodhaven in his final season of high school soccer. The senior midfielder and All-Downriver League selection netted five goals and picked up six assists. He has committed to continue his soccer career at Alma College.
Gus Carcamo, Lincoln Park: Carcamo was a leader for Lincoln Park and helped guide the team to its first-ever top-half finish in the Downriver League. The junior served as a defender and he earned all-league honors.
Connor Hoye, Woodhaven: Hoye came up big for Woodhaven in what was his junior season. The All-Downriver League defender helped the Warriors shut down opposing teams and he finished with 11 goals and three assists.
Leo Cardozo, Trenton: Opposing teams had a difficult time stopping Cardozo. The senior forward and All-Downriver League honoree scored 16 goals for the Trojans and he earned 17 assists.
Brendan Hughey, Carlson: Hughey returned to the starting goaltender spot in 2019 and helped guide the team through a rebuilding year. The junior, who earned All-Downriver League honors, made a total of 130 saves during the season.
Evan Bliss, Woodhaven: Bliss was described as “relentless on the pitch” by Woodhaven coach Scott Hoye. The junior midfielder picked up All-Downriver League honors for 2019. He scored three goals and earned four assists.
Colton Langlois, Anderson: Langlois served as a leader for Anderson and helped guide the team through a rebuilding year. The senior and All-Downriver League honoree played midfield and defense for the Titans. He netted six goals and picked up eight assists along the way.
Juan Serrano, Taylor: Serrano was one of two Taylor High players who picked up All-Downriver League honors in 2019. The senior helped guide the Griffins through an up-and-down season on the pitch.
Tyler Paoletti, Richard: Paoletti finished up his high school soccer career with big season for Richard. The senior picked up All-Catholic honors and was named Team MVP. Along the way he netted five goals and earned 15 assists.
Declan Moloney, Cabrini: Moloney wrapped up his impressive high school soccer career with a big season at Cabrini. The senior midfielder and All-Catholic honoree scored 16 goals for the Monarchs and finished with eight assists. He is set to continue his soccer career at the collegiate level....