ANN ARBOR — In field hockey, the goalkeeper is literally the last line of defense.
In the Catholic League girls field hockey championship games Sept. 30 at Fr. Gabriel Richard High School, the “last line” of defense appeared to be at midfield.
That was the predicament Farmington Hills Mercy's squad found itself forced to deal with against archrival Bloomfield Hills Marian in the Bishop Division finale.
Marian’s corps of midfielders and defenders formed an impenetrable defense from the start for the 4-0 victory. Mercy’s offense wasn’t able to cross into the Mustangs’ side of the field in the opening 10 minutes of the first quarter to set the tone of the game.
Mercy (5-6-1) was unable to fire a shot on goal for the contest against Marian’s goalies, seniors Isabella Denipoti and sophomore Sienna Wilcox.
“We kept up the momentum,” said Karen Wick, who has coached Marian for 12 years. “The girls worked hard to get here.”
The Mustangs (9-4-1) scored a goal a quarter: sophomore Julia Rogers in the first quarter, senior forward Ava Dietz in the second and fourth quarters, and junior Annika Triemstra in the third.
Mercy goalie Morgan Sarafa fended off 23 shots on goal.
It was Marian’s first title since 2016 and 10th overall since the sport was sanctioned by the CHSL in 2006.
Fr. Gabriel Richard wins third straight
“We did everything we wanted to do,” said coach Craig Flocken about the Fighting Irish’s 3-0 win over Ann Arbor Greenhills for the CHSL girls field hockey Cardinal Division championship, its third in a row.
And ala Marian, Ann Arbor Fr. Gabriel Richard (13-1-1) employed a rock-solid defense that frustrated Greenhills' (8-3-2) offense so much so that the Graphons were not able to fire a shot on goal to challenge goalies Mel Karls and Rina Biskner.
Fr. Gabriel Richard fired 24 shots on goal against beleaguered Greenhills goalie Madeline Miller. She couldn’t handle a pair of unassisted goals by junior Lilli Vera — her team-leading 29th and 30th of the season — and one by senior Delaney Hughes.
CHSL finals at midpoint
It’s five down, five to go in the lineup of CHSL fall sports championships.
So far, the winners are Toledo St. Ursula Academy and Ann Arbor Greenhills in girls golf, Marian and Mercy in field hockey, Cranbrook Kingswood and Ann Arbor Fr. Gabriel Richard in boys tennis, and Toledo St. John’s Jesuit and Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett in boys soccer.
To be determined:
Boys and girls Bishop Division cross country Oct. 11 at Kensington Metropark.
Volleyball Oct. 12 at AA Fr. Gabriel Richard.
Boys and girl Cardinal Division cross country Oct. 20 at Willow Metropark.
Prep Bowl Oct. 21 at Ford Field: Toledo Central Catholic vs. Detroit Cass Tech, Jackson Lumen Christi vs. Battle Creek Harper Creek, and Clarkston Everest vs. either Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard or Macomb Lutheran North. They meet Oct. 13 to decide who’s in.
Girls swimming Nov. 10 and 11 at Waterford Kettering.
Then come the state playoffs.
Girls golf tees off in a series of regional meets this weekend. Of special interest will be the competition between defending Division 2 champ Mercy and Cranbrook Kingswood, the Division 3 finalist last year but who has moved up to Division 2 for this year. They are in the same regional Oct. 11 at the Farmington Hills Golf Club.
Boys tennis regionals also begin Oct. 11. Greenhills and Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett are defending Division 3 and Division 4 champs respectively.
State playoffs begin later this month for other defending state champs including Warren De La Salle in Division 2 football the last two seasons and Marian in Division 3 swimming and volleyball the last three years in Division 1.
Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].