Howell — With a trip to the Division 3 boys soccer state championship on the line, Flint Powers overcame a defensive slugfest to beat Detroit Country Day 1-0 in a shootout on Wednesday night.
The game went to the shootout tied 0-0, but Powers was able to win it, 3-1.
Powers was looking to make its second state championship appearance after losing to Grand Rapids Catholic Central in a defensive battle last season.
And then Powers goalkeeper Brendan Tilden made a diving save to give his team momentum with just 13 minutes left in regulation. Although that didn’t lead to a score, the defense seemed to feed off it.
“I have to do something,” Tilden said. “The defense has been so solid this year and I’ve had to thank them on numerous occasions for being so good and today I had to pay it back.”
Defense was the theme in this one as neither side could capitalize on opportunities through the first two halves and overtime.
This wasn’t much of a surprise, though. Powers (21-3-1) had out-scored opponents 32-0 in the playoffs and had given up just three goals during its 12-game winning streak before the Division 3 semifinal.
“I attribute (the defensive effort) to our defense,” Power coach Tony Rowe said. “Our whole defense, and Brendan (Tilden), has stepped up tremendously in this postseason. A lot of preparation and a lot of experience goes into it.”
Country Day (15-7-2) had allowed just two goals in four playoff games leading into Wednesday’s matchup, so it was no stranger to stingy defense, either.
“It’s just disappointing but Flint Powers is a great team, they play great defense,” Country Day coach Steven Bossert said. “I’m very proud of the boys. We played a tough schedule and came a long way. I think this was our best game of the season.”
Connor Boerman, Grant Morrison and Mason Smith made the three shoutout goals for Powers. Kevin Huang was the only Country Day player to score in the shootout as Tilden stopped three attempts.
Powers will play Ludington, which beat Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the other semifinal, for the state title on Saturday afternoon. Its last state championship victory was in 2013 until Rowe.
“It’s pretty amazing (to make it back to the state finals),” Rowe said. “Making it back was the goal all year and they’ve accomplished that goal.”
Connor Muldowney is a freelance writer.
Boys soccer semifinals
Detroit Catholic Central 2, East Kentwood 1
Walled Lake Central 0, Troy 0 (Central wins 4-3 on penalty kicks)
Final: Saturday, noon, at Rochester Hills Stoney Creek
East Lansing 2, Farmington Hills Harrison 0
Holland 3, Coldwater 0
Final: Saturday, noon, at Comstock Park
Flint Powers Catholic 1, Detroit Country Day 0 (Penalty kicks)
Ludington 2, Grand Rapids South Christian 1
Final: Saturday, 3 p.m., at Comstock Park
Ann Arbor Greenhills 2,. Genesee Christian 0
Kalamazoo Hackett 3, Buckley 1
Final: Saturday, 3 p.m., at Rochester Hills Stoney Creek