Wednesday's roundup: Notre Dame makes soccer final

Connor Muldowney
Special to The News

Novi — An early goal for Pontiac Notre Dame Prep led to a 1-0 victory over Birmingham Marian on Wednesday and a trip to the Division 2 girls soccer state championship game.

Notre Dame Prep plays for the title Saturday at Michigan State against Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, a 1-0 winner over Dexter.

Marian handed Notre Dame Prep its lone loss, 1-0 during the regular season.

“I try to downplay (avenging the loss) a little bit with the girls,” Notre Dame coach Jim Stachura said. “You can psych yourself out. Getting that first goal changed everything.”

Both teams had strong scoring chances the first half, but Celia Gaynor came away with the lone goal for Notre Dame Prep off a cross from Eileen Haig.

“That’s a world-class goal,” Stachura said. “It was really nice; just turning and hitting (the ball) reminds me of David Platt in the World Cup in 1990. It’s kind of crazy.”

Marian came out more aggressive the second half, pressuring Notre Dame goalkeeper Haley Williams with four shots (it had one the first half).

In the end, it was the Notre Dame (20-1-3) defense that won the game, most notably speedy junior defender Nadia Burbank.

“Go all out,” Burbank said of her defensive attitude. “Give it everything you’ve got because I’m only here one more year so my mindset is give it 110 percent and the outcome will be the outcome. Leave everything on the field.”

The Notre Dame defense was not lost on Marian coach Barry Brodsky.

“We had a couple chances, but we couldn’t cash it in,” Brodsky said. “Nadia (Burbank) is fabulous. I’ve seen her enough for the last three years to know how good she is.”

Olivia Zardus had the last scoring chance for Marian (16-3-2), but her try from just outside the box went wide.

Other semifinals

Division 2

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 2, Dexter 1: Forest Hills Northern (7-2-1) scored twice in the second half to earn a title match Saturday against Notre Dame. Riley Doll scored in the 36th minute for Dexter (18-1-1).

Division 3

Flint Powers Catholic 1, Grosse Ile 0: In a semifinal at Parker Middle School in Howell, Marisa Lyon scored on a penalty kick for Powers Catholic (21-2-1). Grosse Ile finishes 23-2-3.

Hudsonville Unity Christian 3, Freeland 0: In a semi at Cedar Springs High, Unity Christian (23-2-1) scored three times in the first half, advancing to the D-3 finals against Powers Catholic.

Connor Muldowney is a freelance writer; freelancer Al Willman contributed to this report.

GIRLS SOCCER SEMIFINALS

(All finals at Michigan State, East Lansing)

DIVISION 1

■Canton 2, Forest Hills Central 1

■Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 2, Novi 1 (SO)

Friday’s final: 4 p.m.

DIVISION 2

■Forest Hills Northern 2, Dexter 1

■Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 1, Birmingham Marian 0

Saturday’s final: 4 p.m.

DIVISION 3

■Hudsonville Unity Christian 3, Freeland 0

■Flint Powers Catholic 1, Grosse Ile 0

Saturday’s final: 1 p.m.

DIVISION 4

■Montrose 3, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian 0

■Grosse Pointe Liggett 1, Lansing Christian 0

Friday’s final: 1 p.m.