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‘KLAA’SIC: Keepers shine as Canton, Hartland battle to 0-0 draw

 ‘KLAA’SIC: Keepers shine as Canton, Hartland battle to 0-0 draw

Canton senior Grace Tarquinto sprints up the field with Hartland’s Ellie Laier in pursuit.

The quietest places at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park varsity stadium Thursday night were the back of the two soccer nets that were set up 120 yards from one another.

Not one ball managed to cross the nets’ threshold as Hartland and Canton — the two teams topping the KLAA West Division standings when the match kicked off — scripted a defensive classic that ended in a 0-0 result.

Both teams’ goal-keepers — Canton’s Julia Tasker and Hartland’s Jenna Brock — stonewalled the precious and few offensive threats that their opponents managed to organize on a night highlighted by top-shelf play by two of Michigan’s top-ranked units.

As of April 29, the Eagles were ranked No. 9 in Division 1 by the Michigan High School Soccer Association, while Canton was was the 11th-best team according to the MIHSSA poll. Salem wasn’t far behind, earning a No. 13 ranking.

When the second-half clock hit zeroes, Hartland had maintained its first-place standing atop the West standings with an 8-1-2 mark (26 points) while Canton was locked in a second place tie with Salem at 6-1-4 (both teams have 22 points).

Teams earn three points for a win and one point for a tie.

To check out video highlights from Thursday’s game, click here.

Division crown up for grabs

With three regular-season games remaining, the West title is still up for grabs as Hartland closes with matches at Brighton and Plymouth, sandwiched around a home contest against Novi.

Kayla Rankin maneuvers past a Hartland player
Kayla Rankin maneuvers past a Hartland player

Canton travels to winless Howell on May 7 before finishing its slate against P-CEP rivals Salem and Plymouth.

In addition to its cross-campus clash with Canton, the Rocks travel to Northville and host Brighton.

The Chiefs manufactured two golden scoring chances (and a handful of other that were silver-plated) that were stymied by the agile Brock.

The first unfolded with just under a minute remaining in the first half when Kayla Rankin motored up the left flank and unleashed a well-struck left-footed net-seeker that Brock went horizontal to secure.

Brock, Tasker stonewall foes

Rankin came close to breaking the scoring ice again in the second half but her riser from about 20 yards out was snuffed out by a two-handed snag by the diving Brock.

Alexis Pickerel and Lizzie Armor fight for possession
Alexis Pickerel and Lizzie Armor fight for possession

Tasker, who has registered seven shutouts in 2024, turned in a textbook effort, hitting the turf for multiple stops while she — aided by an air-tight defense in front of her — put herself in perfect position throughout the 80 minutes to limit legitimate Eagle scoring chances.

A late-stage Hartland attack that initially showed promise was extinguished when Alyse Daavettila’s charge up the right flank was derailed by Taylor Steinagel’s step-for-step defense that resulted in Daavettila misfiring on a shot that missed the right post by at least 10 yards.

If the two juggernauts meet again, it probably won’t happen until late in the MHSAA Division 1 post-season tournament.

Canton will be joined by the other two P-CEP schools, the three Livonia teams and Northville in a district tournament hosted by Livonia Stevenson.

Grace Tarquinto and an unidentified Hartland player go up for a 50/50 ball
Grace Tarquinto and an unidentified Hartland player go up for a 5050 ball

Hartland will travel to Okemos for its district tourney, which is populated by the host Wolves, Brighton, Holt, East Lansing, Howell and Grand Ledge.

While Thursday’s encounter didn’t light up the scoreboard, it was still ultra-entertaining — and a reminder how challenging it is to score against disciplined, well-organized teams that rarely hurt themselves with ill-timed mistakes.

Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or

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Ed Wright

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