Powers Catholic, behind goals from Rachel Rasins, capture second consecutive D3 title with a 2-1 victory over Freeland
Williamston - Freeland accomplished a feat against Flint Powers that no other Division 3 school could do during the postseason.
The Falcons scored a goal on the Chargers.
Freeland, ranked 18th, tied the game in the 58th minute to pull even at 1-1. But as championship teams do, Powers Catholic (23-1-3) scored the go-ahead goal in the 65th minute and that was enough to propel the Chargers to the 2-1 victory in the Division 3 final at Williamston High School on Saturday.
It marked Powers Catholic’s ninth championship game appearance in 19 years, a second straight state title and third this decade. The Chargers defeated Freeland, 4-0, in last season’s final.
On a short corner kick, senior forward Sophie Bubnar touched the ball to forward Rachel Rasins, who dribbled into the penalty box untouched and laced a shot with pace into the back of the net from 17 yards out with 15:43 to play.
The game-winner was Rasins’ 37th of the season.
“They tied it up, but we play with such great energy that we got it back,” said Rasins, a junior All-State First Team pick who has already committed to Columbia University. “We played that shot (corner) out, and I thought Sophie was going to serve it in, but she passed it up to me and I dribbled it in and took the shot. I saw a lot of room at the corner so I took it.”
It marked the first time that Powers Catholic won back-to-back titles.
“It means the world to us and it’s an honor to play for a program like Powers,” added Rasins. “We want more rings. We want to keep winning.”
Powers Catholic was ranked No. 1 all season and, as the defending champions, coach Art Moody realized the target on his programs’ back.
“There was some pressure involved,” said Moody. “Being the defending champs and being ranked No. 1 the whole season can build some pressure. Everyone’s always gunning for you.”
Powers Catholic responded after surrendering their first postseason goal. The Chargers held a 133-16 goal differential for the season and rarely trailed or were threatened.
“We had to let them play it out, learn from it,” said Moody. “I kind of felt it coming. They were pressuring us and they held their own. It was a nice play to tie it up. But we responded and came down and scored a few minutes later. We came back with that second wind and kept them out and didn’t allow them to tie it a second time.”
Freeland (22-5-0) carried the play for most of the second half and even hit the crossbar and goal post in the final 40 minutes.
“I thought in the second half we were the better team,” said Freehand coach Lauren Kemerer. “We were not intimidated. We came at them and tied the game up. We had some great chances to go up or tie it again. I wish one of those could have gone in. Maybe it could have been different. We were so close on a couple of those (shots). It’s not that we played bad. We were right there.
“Since we got here last year, it was our goal to get back all along. We’re in (the mix). We hope to get back next year and have another shot at it.”
Powers Catholic scored first on a Freeland breakdown in the backfield with 8:52 remaining in the first half.
Senior Madeline Cardinal sent a through ball to the corner to Rasins, who fired a shot from the corner of the field that snuck into the near post as Freeland’s goalkeeper and defender collided in the box.
Freeland netted the game-tying goal with 21:12 remaining. Senior forward Mackenzie Stroebel slotted a pass through traffic to freshman forward Molly Hemgesberg, who ripped an 18-yard blast to the far post.
The Falcons attempted six shots and had six corner kicks in the second half and could not net an equalizer.
Powers Catholic sophomore Natalie Deitering notched four saves in recording her second championship win as the goalkeeper.
The Chargers outscored their postseason opponents 41-1. Powers held a 16-8 overall shots edge, including 7-5 with shots on frame, and also held a 8-6 edge on corner kicks but struggled to pull away from Freeland.
Senior Alexa Walker finished with five saves for Freeland, although she made just one save in the second half.