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District Queens: Elk Rapids captures third straight district title after defeating Leland, 5-1

May 30—ELK RAPIDS — No one has conquered the district rounds like Elk Rapids.

The Elks' varsity girls soccer program continued to stack their high school trophy case with district championship hardware after beating Leland 5-1 on Thursday in the district championship — capturing their third straight title with the help of sophomore Sierra Boilore's four-goal performance.

Elk Rapids started the season 1-4, and after suffering their first loss of the season to Traverse City St. Francis, Elks head coach Andrea Krakow preached patience to a loaded underclassmen squad.

Many of the girls were getting used to playing with each other after losing several key seniors who helped them reach the Division 4 state quarterfinals.

"The young ones have been able to take the field when we've had veterans who've been hurting in other games. I've been trying to give them field time so they get that experience," Krakow said. "So many kids were allowed to take the field and do what they've been watching."

The Elks didn't have issues getting on the board, with Boilore finding her groove in the first half. The sophomore forward scored her first goal at the 33-minute mark, and several minutes later, senior striker Kendall Standfest found Boilore in the middle of the penalty box to assist on Boilore's second goal.

"I cut to the end line, and they all just collapsed. But credit to Leland, they played great defense, and there were people on me all night," Standfest said. " Sierra had a great game. It goes to show that we can trust each other if one of us has an off night."

The Comets had several chances to get on the board, with a penalty kick several yards away. But Elks' freshman goalkeeper Natasha Beebe punched it out. The Elks' defense made it difficult for the Comets to get any shots off despite holding them to seven shots.

Krakow credits the backline's communication they had throughout the night in making it difficult for the Comets to score.

The Elks unloaded three more goals in the second half, with Boilore finding the right side of the net to complete her hat trick. Freshman Lillian Connor scored the Comets' only goal in the 33-minute mark to make it 3-1, but the Elks continued to find the net.

Boilore returned for an encore to make it 4-1 off a deflection from the goalkeeper, and then Standfest put the bow on a district win with a goal of her own after a seven-goal performance against Harbor Springs in the district semifinals.

During postgame interviews, Boilore was showered with water from her teammates to help cool her down after her four-goal outpouring.

Boilore tried her best to answer questions from reporters about her stellar game, saying it was a big accomplishment to help the Elks advance to the regional rounds for the third straight season.

Her experience last season on the varsity squad helped her prepare for moments like Thursday.

"If you have good relationships with your teammates, you play good," Boilore said on what she learned from last season's postseason run.

Standfest and a handful of players have the postseason experience from being multi-sport athletes. Having the postseason experience has helped Standfest prepare for what's to come.

On the losing end, the Comets wrapped up their season 16-3-2 overall and 10-0 in the Northwest Conference. Comets' head coach Joe Burda couldn't be prouder of what the girls accomplished on the pitch.

The Comets haven't won more than 16 games in a season in several decades — despite having multiple 14-win seasons. They also haven't captured a Northwest title since joining in 2021.

"The girls just showed up. We finished 16-3 overall, and it didn't feel like it," Burda said. "The girls kept putting in the work every day, and we snuck into the rankings at the end because of their effort and execution they had."

The Elks travel to Big Rapids High School on Tuesday to play the winner of Tawas and Midland Calvary Baptist.