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The Liggett boys’ hockey team members celebrate winning a 2012 Division 3 state championship.
January 03, 2013
For a second straight year, University Liggett celebrated a state champion.

The boys’ hockey team, under head coach Robb McIntyre, beat Houghton 3-0 the first weekend of March to capture a Division 3 state championship.

Manny Counsman scored twice and Jake Soyka tallied in the third period to seal the deal for the Knights. It was their third state championship in program history. They also won titles in 1980, beating Detroit Country Day 8-4, and 1990, defeating Saginaw Nouvel 6-0.


Goalie Luke Soyka pitched the shutout, stopping only 17 shots.

The Knights blasted Chelsea 5-1 in the semifinals and blanked Marysville 4-0 in a quarterfinal contest.

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The girls’ basketball team just missed out on winning a state title, too. The Knights breeezed through the state playoffs and made it to the Class C championship game against Morley-Stanwood. For a second straight year, the Knights lost. This time it was 61-57, despite 2012 graduate Madison Ristovski’s 42 points.

The girls’ hockey team, under Cassie Jaeckle, took a step in the right direction. The Knights ended on a tough note, but the foundation is present for long-term success.

The boys’ basketball team, under head coach Sidney Johnson, lost in the district playoffs and the co-ed swimming and diving team, under head coach Ryan Gunderson, enjoyed success with two swimmers, Chris Cornell and Connor Borrego, making it to the Division 3 state finals.

In the spring, head coach Dan Cimini was one win away from leading the Liggett boys’ baseball team to back-to-back Division 4 state championships, but Decatur turned them aside in a 4-1 outcome.

Despite the loss, Cimini supplanted his Knights as not just one of the best programs in Division 4, but in all four divisions. His players continue to shine when it counts the most.

The softball team, under head coach Ted Alpert, fell short in the district tournament, and the lacross squads, under Tamara Fobare (girls) and Bill Brusilow (boys), lost in the regional round of the playoffs.

Head coach Cathy Hackenberger’s girls’ tennis squad had a taste of success, but fell short in its regional tournament, and Stephen Campau made the Divsion 4 boys’ golf state finals, but the team fell short in the regionals.

The school fielded a small track and field team last spring. Several runners improved through the season and are ready to see their times fall this season.

The soccer team, under head coach David Dwaihy, ended its season in the district tournament.

This fall provided Liggett fans a lot to cheer about.

Head coach Lou Ray guided the football team to another Michigan Independent Athletic Conference championship and a spot in the state playoffs.

They beat Detroit Douglass 15-14 in a first-round game before falling to Detroit Loyola in the second round. Senior quarterback Nate Gaggin ended his high school career as one of the state’s best at his position.

The girls’ volleyball team, under head coach Joe LaMagno, won another district title, as well as the MIAC division crown.

The Knights, led by a solid group of seniors, fell short in the regional tournament.

Both the girls’ and boys’ cross-country teams made the state finals at Michigan International Speedway. Head coach Trey Cassidy’s runners enjoyed a ton of success this autumn season and times fell lower and lower. Both should be very good next year.

The boys’ soccer team, under long-time head coach David Backhurst, gave it its best shot, but fell short in the district playoffs.

Head coach Drew Mascarin’s boys’ tennis team had a lot of success and made the Division 4 state finals once again.

The Knights took third with 16 points as Patrick Diaz at No. 4 singles and the No. 4 doubles team of John Ninivaggi and Vijay Policherla made the semifinals of their respective flights.


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