2017-06-14 / Sports

Liggett overpowers Lady Raiders

Marlette ousted in regional soccer finals
BY DALE BALL
SPORTS EDITOR


Chris Titus, Marlette coach, talks strategy to (l-r) Hailey Byers, Alissa Bradeen and Hannah Beyers during halftime of the Div. 4 girls regional soccer finals. Photo by Dale Ball Chris Titus, Marlette coach, talks strategy to (l-r) Hailey Byers, Alissa Bradeen and Hannah Beyers during halftime of the Div. 4 girls regional soccer finals. Photo by Dale Ball GROSSE POINTE WOODS – Mixing talent and resources, Grosse Point University- Liggett, was going to be a very tough challenge for the Marlette girls soccer team. That all proved out last Thursday when the Lady Raiders of MHS saw their history-making season end in the MHSAA Division 4 regional finals. The host Knights, defending state champions, defeated Marlette, 5-0, and will advance to the D4 state semifinals.

The traditionally strong program at Liggett, strangely enough, was only ranked No. 11 in the D4 final poll this spring, despite returning several young players from last year’s squad.

“They are defending state champions for a reason,” bluntly stated Chris Marlette heads coach. “It’s always a mighty task for a public school to beat a private school. They were extremely skilled.”


Marlette goalie Caitlin McNary makes one of her 20 saves during Marlette’s loss. Marlette goalie Caitlin McNary makes one of her 20 saves during Marlette’s loss. The Knights’ skill and talent showed up early, on the offensive end. Junior Olivia Yates scored on a pass from the left side with just less than seven minutes off the clock. Just over two minutes later, junior Alexis Wenger, an All-State player, had a big opportunity to make it 2-0 but her kick sailed just high over the net.

The Liggett offense remained relentless against a Marlette defense that had been very stingy in the regular season and the districts. The Knights had three more scoring opportunities in the next 12 minutes, two kicks going wide and another stopped on a terrific play from Lady Raider keeper, Caitlin McNary.

Marlette, offensively, did not get deep into Liggett’s territory until senior Alissa Bradeen had a steal inside the opponent’s half of the field. A scoring chance, however, did not develop.


Marlette’s Taylor Harneck, a senior forward, brings the ball upfield in the regional title game against Liggett. Photos by Dale Ball Marlette’s Taylor Harneck, a senior forward, brings the ball upfield in the regional title game against Liggett. Photos by Dale Ball But, just two minutes later, Bradeen had a better look and put a shot on net that was stopped by the Liggett goalkeeper.

With just under 19 minutes left in the half, the Knights’ offense erupted for two quick goals. First, Eva Papista took a corner kick from Kelly Solak and found the net. Moments later, Yates took a pass out front and fired a shot into the net that McNary had no chance to stop.

Before the half was over, though, McNary, a sophomore, did make a another key stop, one of her 20 saves in the contest.

During the halftime break, Titus opted to go for broke and try to turn up the heat, offensively.


Liggett’s high-flying Isabelle Brusilow sends the ball ahead between Marlette defenders, Hailey Byers (2) and Becca Glass (10). Liggett’s high-flying Isabelle Brusilow sends the ball ahead between Marlette defenders, Hailey Byers (2) and Becca Glass (10). “We made a decision to try to be more offensive and try to get back in the game. We could have gone out and been more defensive, and maybe kept the score down,” Titus said.

He added, “But, we were not quite on our game, offensively, and part of that was (Liggett). We probably had four point-on shots on goal, but they didn’t go in.”

That aggressiveness did show early in the second half. Senior Taylor Harneck of the Lady Raiders had a breakaway and put a shot on goal. A few minutes later Marlette put together two more scoring opportunities – one stopped by the Liggett keeper and the other was broken up on a defensive play.

The Knights, with just under 25 minutes remaining, put the dagger in on a breakaway goal by Wenger. Liggett added a goal with just 25 seconds remaining in the contest.


Keeper Caitlin McNary of the Lady Red Raiders has a halftime talk with teammates at last Thursday’s D4 girls soccer regional contest. Keeper Caitlin McNary of the Lady Red Raiders has a halftime talk with teammates at last Thursday’s D4 girls soccer regional contest. “The girls played hard, but we were just outmatched,” commented Titus. “We had a few close shots, but couldn’t get anything going, offensively.”

Titus went on to praise the effort of McNary in goal. “Caitlin kept us close, but it wasn’t enough.”

Statistically, Marlette managed just 11 shots in the game. On the defensive side, sophomore Mariah Benedict had 18 stops and senior Scottlynn Breeze had five steals.

The Lady Raiders did have a historic season. They claimed the GTC East championship and took home the school’s first trophy for a district title.

“I’m really happy for our girls going this far. It’s a huge accomplishment for our (10) seniors,” Titus noted, who was recently named a District Coach of the Year. “We were glad to get a district title. (We beat) Harbor Beach, which is really good, and Memphis, which is good, too.” Semifinals


Scottlynn Breezee (13) of Marlette gets in front of Liggett’s Alexis Wenger to direct the ball to a teammate during the D4 regional final contest. Scottlynn Breezee (13) of Marlette gets in front of Liggett’s Alexis Wenger to direct the ball to a teammate during the D4 regional final contest. Marlette 2, Auburn Hills Oakland Christian 1 (OT): The Lady Raider fans had to be on the edge of their seats the entire game in Tuesday’s semifinal win over Oakland Christian.

Taylor Harneck scored the winning goal, on a pass from Taylor Mitchell, as time was running out in the OT. Harneck also scored the team’s first goal on a pass from Bradeen.

“This was the most exciting and intense game of the season, featuring spectacular goal play by Caitlin McNary,” said Coach Titus. “Caitlin had two amazing saves.”

McNary timed a jump perfectly to block a shot that appeared to be heading to the back of the net on her first stop. Later, she laid out and just caught a ball before it went to the corner.

Assistant Coach Amy Ford added, “Caitlin played tremendous and our defense kept after Oakland Christian, allowing us to stay in the game. The girls gave it their all and our offense kept shooting.”

Overall, the Lady Raiders delivered 35 shots toward the net for the game.

While McNary had 13 saves in net, Marlette defenders, Benedict and Hailey Byers, combined for 23 stops and Breezee had five steals.

MHSAA Regional Girls Soccer Results

Division 4 at Grosse Pointe University-Liggett

Semifinals

Tues., June 6

Marlette 2, Auburn Hills Oakland Christian 1, OT; Grosse Pointe University-Liggett 3, Madison Hts. Bishop Foley 1

Finals

Thurs., June 8

Grosse Pointe University 5, Marlette 0

MHSAA Div. 4 Girls Soccer State Pairings

6-14-17

Semifinals

Muskegon Catholic Central vs. Kalamazoo Christian at Comstock Park, 7 p.m.; Grosse Point University- Liggett vs. Lansing Christian at Troy Athens, 7 p.m.

6-17-17

Finals at Williamston, 1 p.m.

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