MADISON HEIGHTS — You can’t always tell by the scoreboard who won the game.
In the opener of the Catholic League girls soccer championship doubleheader hosted by Bishop Foley High School, the record book will read that Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood blanked Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 1-0 for the Cardinal trophy involving the AA Division’s two top teams.
In the nightcap for the Bishop (Central Division) trophy, Bloomfield Hills Marian outlasted Warren Regina 2-1.
Cranes were ‘phenomenal’
“I thought the team collectively played phenomenal today,” coach Chad O’Kulich said. “Our bench was monumental impacting the game, communicating to the players to be at the right spot at restarts.”
Sophomore Carola Gorlier was a prime example of positioning personnel. “She played her normal defensive spot,” O’Kulich said, “but she also played every offensive position.”
Gorlier was in the right spot three minutes into the second half when she drilled what turned out to be the winning goal and gave Cranbrook its second consecutive CHSL championship.
The Cranes’ corps of defenders — Kendall Pankopf, MacKenzie Behnke, Savanna Katz and Anna Assemany — kept Liggett’s offense pretty much on its side of the field unable to get an offense going.
Both goalies — Cranbrook’s Mya Duhart and Gabrielle Szajenko for Liggett — made spectacular saves, although the Cranes kept Szajenko occupied with 21 shots.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association girls soccer playoffs are next on the agenda. In Division 2, No. 10 Cranbrook (9-1-2) will play either Detroit Renaissance (5-4) or Walled Lake Western (5-10-1) on May 30. The district final is June 1.
'Felt like a win in many ways'
University Liggett’s coach, David Dwaihy, said he was “was thrilled with the game. It felt like a win in many ways.”
“We expected that they would take it to us and we struggled a little bit creating chances,” Dwaihy said. “It was really satisfying seeing us grow into the game, getting a little bit more confidence. We had one goal called back (goalie interference). Even though we came up short on the scoreboard we took a good step forward to the state playoffs.”
Dwaihy has coached University Liggett girls soccer for 14 years. He guided the Knights to the 2016 Division 4 state championship.
Liggett (13-1-0) is ranked No. 1 in Division 4. In the MHSAA playoffs, the Knights will play Bloomfield Hills Roeper (7-4-3) on May 31 and then wait for the district final on June 2 against Madison Heights Bishop Foley (7-4-3) or Royal Oak Shrine (5-8-1) or Southfield Christian (5-8-1).
‘I love the team’s resiliency’
Senior forward Adri Kattoo put Marian in front 1-0 with a goal nine minutes into the game. The Mustangs defense dominated the first half, making Regina unable to get its offense going.
“But I knew there would be some hard times ahead,” Friedrichs said, “so I let the girls have half of the halftime. One of their speeches was (about) when the momentum changes, you have to be ready to deal with it. And that’s what happened.”
Eight minutes into the second half, the Saddlelites’ Sabrina Sokol tied the game.
“We responded,” Friedrichs said. Some 20 minutes later, Kattoo rammed in another goal to put Marian back in command.
“We knew it wouldn’t be easy,” he said, noting that teams had played to a 0-0 tie in April, and Marian won a rematch 1-0 two weeks ago.
“I love the team’s resiliency,” Friedrichs said. “It gives you more belief in the team. We had five players lost with ACLs and lost some starters to graduation. So confidence is important for this kind of team.”
It was Marian’s second CHSL title in a row and 19th in its history.
In the upcoming MHSAA playoffs, Division 2 No. 3-ranked Marian (13-1-2) will play either Livonia Clarenceville (0-18) or Ferndale (7-4-1) on May 30. Marian won state crowns in 2017-18-19 and was a finalist in 2022.
‘We responded well’
“I think we responded well in the second half,” said Regina coach Stefano Moraccini. “We played much better, especially in the first 15-20 minutes. We played extremely well possession-wise and stuff like that.”
About the state playoffs, “I feel good as long as we can cut down the mistakes,” Moraccini said. “They’re simple mistakes to cut down, and we know how we can fix them. We should make a push in the playoffs.”
Regina (9-7-2), ranked No. 9 in Division 3, will face either Marine City (9-2-1) or host Macomb Lutheran North (4-11-2) on May 30.
The district final is June 1.
CHSL baseball finals May 24 at The Corner
The Catholic League baseball champions will be decided Wednesday, May 24, at The Corner, site of the former Tigers Stadium at Michigan and Trumbull.
The Cardinal Trophy game at 5 p.m. will feature Dearborn Divine Child (13-16) versus Marine City Cardinal Mooney (13-4; Division 4, No. 6).
At 7 p.m., the Bishop Trophy game will pit Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (28-4; Division 1, No.3) against Novi Detroit Catholic Central (22-12).
Admission is $6.
Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].