RGSO tops Rockford 1-0 and brings home the MHSAA District Championship


Just 48 hours removed from a season-defining victory over rival Forest Hills Northern in the district semifinal, the girls varsity soccer team made the trip back to Scotland Yard in Caledonia to compete for a district championship. Matching up with the always-solid Rockford Rams, a consistent and complete performance was vital to the team’s eventual success. The pressure to keep their storybook season alive did not weigh the girls down; instead, it fueled them to push past the Division One powerhouse and claim the MHSAA District Championship trophy.

“Ultimately, we’re at the point in the season where we either win or go home,” head coach Ashley Ludtke said postgame. “So, we show up as prepared as we possibly can be, and at the end of the day, we just have to find a way to win.”

A 3-0 triumph over the Huskies on Tuesday proved to significantly impact the team’s momentum, as the RGSO came out against Rockford with a stellar attitude and morale. However, the sluggish start in the first half was reflected by coach Ludtke’s discontent with the opening 40 minutes. 

Nevertheless, the proper adjustments were made to combat Rockford’s strategy, giving the Rangers the upper hand on both sides of the ball. As they have done all year, the girls executed their defensive gameplan to a massive extent. At the conclusion of the first half, FHC held the Rams to zero shots on goal. 

Finally, the Rangers found the net. Just over nine minutes into the second half, junior Addi Tack struck a beauty off of a perfect pass from senior Megan Clayton. The shot was placed perfectly, soaring just over the head of Rockford’s goalkeeper and landing softly in the top-left corner of the net. In the end, this incredible sequence of events is what sealed the victory for the Rangers.

From that moment on, the girls displayed fantastic intensity to combat the Rams’ final attempt to save their season. Despite some decent looks on numerous free kicks, FHC closed out the 1-0 win and celebrated its way into regionals.

The adjustments made throughout the game in order to secure the victory were something that the team was extremely proud of. With the game up for grabs at halftime, the Rangers’ ability to escape Scotland Yard with a victory is a tribute to the resiliency of this team. In her interview with FOX 17, senior Megan Clayton reinforced this idea about the RGSO’s culture.

“We know each other as a team probably more than other teams that didn’t get to play together last year,” Megan told FOX 17 reporter Jason Hutton. “We already were really good friends with each other, so we had the team chemistry before the season even started.”

As the Rangers survive and advance to the next round, a matchup with the winner of Portage Central versus Portage Northern awaits. The regional match will take place next Tuesday in Grandville; the faceoff on June 8 provides an opportunity for the Rangers to continue their playoff rampage. 

“We’re going to continue to do what got us here,” coach Ludtke said. “We’re going to continue to work on the things that are going well and keep building on that.”