By: Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dexter Dreadnaught girls soccer team (15-2-4) defeated the Milan Big Reds (7-8) in a district semifinal matchup on May 28 to advance to the district title game on May 31 at 5 p.m.
The aggressor for much of the night, the Dreadnaughts were lifted by a brace from sophomore Abby Tamer as they went on to win 2-0 to bring about their third meeting of the season against the Pinckney Pirates (17-2-2).
Crosses from the wings and shots from all over the field were abundant for the majority of the first half for the Dreadnaughts.
With 23:12 in the first half the Dreadnaughts were finally able to break through on a poor clearance from the Big Reds for the 1-0 lead. Tamer collected the ball and slotted it home once she made it inside the 18-yard box.
“We just wanted to keep shooting,” said Tamer. “We had to get some of them in (the net). We have to get more runs in, less straight angled, changing it up. We just want to start finishing our opportunities. It’s good we were getting those; we just want to put them away.”
Whether it was a cross to senior Annika Brodersen, a shot from freshman Brianna Rodriguez, or a look from senior McKenna Graham, the Dreadnaughts were getting looks from most of their lineup.
“They sat a lot of kids in the box,” said Dreadnaught head coach Jamie Lewis. “We just needed to be patient and recycle the ball and create some better chances.”
Most of the shots ended directed at the keeper, however, and the Dreadnaughts took a 1-0 lead into the break.
The Big Reds got a chance right after halftime, but Dreadnaught junior center back Kylie Cabana cleared it away. Sophomore defensive backs Anna Scaling and Mia Stewart played aggressively with sophomore Faith Renaud and Cabana patrolling the back line.
After that, the Dreadnaughts settled in similar to how they had played for the majority of the first half. Chances from many different looks, but still no goals.
“We started the second half trying to go forward more and move some people around,” said Lewis, as the Dreadnaughts tried a formation change.
24 minutes into the second half the Big Reds had their best chance, an indirect free kick just inside the 18-yard box from the right side.
The Dreadnaught wall absorbed the shot and then cleared the ball. That culminated a short offensive stretch for the Big Reds that the Dreadnaught defense was up to the task for as junior Kaila Simpson finished with the clean sheet.
With 10:17 left Tamer finished a ball from up close on a corner after it got through the scrum in the 6-yard box for the 2-0 lead.
“She’s just really dynamic,” said Lewis of Tamer, a Michigan Field Hockey commit. “(We) try to get her out wide where she can take players on. A lot of the season she’s played more in the back middle like defensive center mid, we’re trying to get her forward and more dangerous. She’s a division one athlete. It shows.”
The Big Reds had a chance with under five minutes to go, getting a shot from inside the box after Simpson thought it was going over her head and out of bounds. It hit the post and bounced directly back into play and the Big Reds got a shot off but Simpson dove to make the save and secure the win.
Winning the semifinal matchup sets up the third match of the season with the Pirates. The Dreadnaughts tied the Pirates in their first meeting with the Pirates taking the most recent matchup for the first SEC White title in program history.
“Energy,” said Lewis on what the team needs to come away with the win against the Pirates. “We have to play hard and win 50-50 balls. Going through film, possession was 50-50. We lost a number of 50-50 balls where we weren’t hustling, they were they wanted it more. We’ve won, I don’t know, 15 of the last 16 SEC White titles. I think our kids were a little… they needed a lesson. I think it worked really well to prepare them for districts.”
“We definitely have got to come out with a lot of energy,” added Tamer. “Get them on their heels to start off. We’ve got to have a lot of runs with our forwards get behind them, keep doing stuff like that and just start finishing our opportunities.”