FENTON — Campbell Schultz didn’t know what to do.
A senior midfielder for the MICDS girls soccer team, her header just won the state championship, but it didn’t seem real. As Orchard Farm’s players collapsed to the turf in heartbreak, Schultz stood in a daze.
“I was kind of in shock,” Schultz said. “I just watched it go in and I didn’t react until my friends came over and hugged me. I was like, ‘OK, we just did that.’ It’s crazy.”
Schultz’s tally in the 93rd minute lifted MICDS to a 2-1 overtime win over Orchard Farm in the Class 2 title match Saturday at Soccer Park.
It’s the first state championship for MICDS (16-6), which won just its third district title this season and advanced to the program’s first state semifinal. All season the Rams relied on an opportunistic offense and rock-solid defense anchored by junior goalkeeper Parker Scheele.
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Scheele played every minute of every match in goal this season and was credited with 12 shutouts. Her talents between the pipes were crucial for the Rams during their run.
“At this point, I’m running out of words,” MICDS coach Jack Fischer said. “Really, the biggest thing is she gives us confidence. She gives our team confidence to play the way we play.”
Scheele was magnificent Saturday. She made a spectacular diving save on Orchard Farm’s Emma Long, who let loose a firecracker of a shot near the midway point of the first half. Speedy, crafty and skilled, Long racked up 39 goals this season including three in the Eagles’ semifinal win Friday. She’s as dangerous a striker as any that took the pitch at Soccer Park this weekend and Scheele was ready for her.
“I knew she’d be fast and she’d be off the ball,” Scheele said. “I had to stay composed. I’ve seen some of her footage, done some research and she’s quick off the ball. Any breakaway that happens I have to close down and contain her and try to make the save.”
MICDS grabbed the lead late in the first half when junior forward Madolyn Mackin ran onto a ball played by freshman midfielder CeCe Harris. An Orchard Farm defender tried to get a foot on it but was unable to redirect the ball and it turned into a footrace. Mackin sped into the box and calmly buried her 14th goal of the season in the 31st minute.
“I took that touch and I knew I had to be the fastest I’ve ever been in that situation,” Mackin said with a smile. “Those shots are really hard for me to score on. Honestly I didn’t think about it. When I overthink it I don’t score. I know how to place it, I know how to kick it, I just had to execute.”
Making its title game debut, Orchard Farm (20-6-1) regrouped at halftime. The Eagles were playing without freshman forward Hannah Ramsey, who suffered an apparent knee injury near the midpoint of the first half. She was helped off the field and did not return. Ramsey has been a significant piece of Orchard Farm’s attack this season with nine goals and 11 assists. She had a pair of helpers in Friday’s semifinal.
“We collected ourselves at halftime and talked about some changes we needed to make,” Orchard Farm coach Courtney Washburn said. “We had a game plan if we were down going into the last 15 minutes. We were going to high pressure, high press and take some people off the backline.”
The Eagles had a strong chance when senior defender Alayna Jakul pushed into the attack and ripped a shot from the top of the box. Scheele had to make another impressive diving stop to keep it from tying the match in the 63rd minute.
Mere moments later senior defender Tessa Madden blasted a free kick from just outside the box that rung off the cross bar.
The Eagles finally drew even when sophomore midfielder Bailey Goeke chipped a ball into the right side of the box that sophomore midfielder Ashlyn Ohlms was able to run onto. She then cranked a shot that beat Scheele in the 68th minute.
Ohlms was called upon to fill in for the injured Ramsey and did so with aplomb much of the afternoon.
"I was super excited for her,” Washburn said. “Her speed helps her all the time. She was working her butt off out there and the girls saw it and they kept trying to feed her the ball. It was a big-time play.”
The Eagles had three more set pieces in the final six minutes of regulation but were unable to cash in. When regulation ended MICDS pulled itself together and refocused.
“I think we all were so nervous. I don’t think we were expecting (them to score) exactly,” Mackin said. “I knew we could come back, I knew we could do it.”
In overtime MICDS had the better of the play early, but Orchard Farm had the most dangerous opportunity. The Eagles had the ball bouncing around the Rams box loose with Scheele out of position but never could get a quality look. It was a tense minute as MICDS tried to clear and Orchard Farm was desperate to try for the winner.
“We didn’t put it in, but we tried,” Washburn said.
A minute later MICDS was awarded a free kick about 10 yards past midfield. As she has all season, Scheele came up to serve the ball. She lined up her strike and blasted the ball into the box with the hope of finding a friendly head, be it Schultz or junior midfielder Zara Nourie.
This time she found Schultz.
“I realized they weren’t following me on run ins on corners and free kicks,” Schultz said. “I knew if I got there before the goalie I would get a better chance. I tried to flick it right and I guess I got there first.”
Schultz’s header ended the match and gave the Rams a fairytale ending to their improbable season. All spring they’ve been playing for Fischer, who announced this was his final season on the sideline at MICDS.
“It seems like a little bit of destiny. It’s really special,” Fischer said. “The group of girls are amazing. They bought in completely to what we have asked them to do. Credit is all to them.”
Added Scheele, “Fischer is the best coach and I will dearly miss him.”