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Banged-up Skyline beats De La Salle, 2-1 in OT in D1 soccer semis, will play East Kentwood for title

By: Dan Stickradt, November 1, 2018, 12:15 am

TROY — Suffering a rash of injuries during the last month, Ann Arbor Skyline has had to band-aid its lineup.

That still hasn’t slowed down the 10th-ranked Eagles.

Skyline scored a first-half goal and added the game-winner in the first overtime period, as the Eagles ousted Warren De La Salle, 2-1, in the Division 1 state semifinals Wednesday at Troy High School.

Senior midfielder Kai Jurgle netted the game-winner with 2:55 left in the first extra season, burying a penalty kick to the right corner, and the Eagles back line made it stand in the end in helping Skyline reach the state finals for the second time in six years.

Skyline (16-4-2) will face perennial power East Kentwood (16-4-3), which has won five state titles during the past 12 years, in the state title match Saturday at 3 p.m. at Novi High School.

Following a handball just inside the box, Jurgle calmly stepped in and left no doubt on his penalty kick.

“We practice these all the time. You just go up there and rip it to the corner,” said Jurgle, who missed a PK earlier in the season. “I knew I had to make it. Playing in the finals is what we wanted and now we want to win it just like that 2013 team.”

Skyline, which won the D1 state title in 2013 with a team fronted by some superstars, controlled play for the first 50 minutes of the contest, and the Eagles were able to take a 1-0 advantage into halftime.

Jurgle’s bending corner kick into the penalty box set up the game’s first tally. Sophomore forward Tyler Warren got his foot on a 12-yard blast in traffic that was tipped to the crossbar and down to the goal line — and senior midfielder Marco Althoen was there to cash in the rebound from one yard out with 13:06 to play in the first half.

“With five guys out, we’ve had to move guys all around. But these guys have stepped up and we’ve been able to make a run. Now we’re back in the finals,” said Skyline coach Chris Morgan. “It is different now because I think our top guy has something like nine goals (this year) and when we won it in 2013 (Mr. Soccer Alec) Lasinski had something upwards to 40 goals. We don’t have some a lot of standouts, but we do have a real good group of players that work well with each other.”

Senior Kyri Wixom, one of the state’s most respected goalkeepers, finished with four saves for the win. Skyline held a narrow 12-11 shots edge, including 6-5 with shots on frame, and also held a 3-2 edge with cornerkicks.

De La Salle (19-4-4), which hadn’t lost to a Michigan school since Sept. 10, began applying pressure in the final 20 minutes of regulation. The Pilots finally netted the equalizer with 7:55 to go in regulation.

Senior Tad Gabryel, pushed up into the midfield, flicked the ball over to an onrushing senior Thomas Turner, whose perfectly-slotted ball was laced by senior forward Rocco Galati into the left corner of the goal from 15 yards out.

DeLaSalle also a goal called back in the game’s sixth minute due to an offsides call.

“I thought that Skyline controlled play in the first half. In the second half we calmed down a little bit and our fitness started to take over,” said De La Salle coach Thaier Mukhtar. “We were able to apply some pressure and got plenty of chances and we were able to score our goal.”

Making its 11th overall Final Four appearance dating back to the 1980s, De La Salle couldn’t get the lucky bounce in the end.

“But we were a little unlucky. We had the goal called back and we had some assistant coaches up in the box that said he was onside. They also called the gutsy handball (in overtime) where his hands were on his side,” offered Mukhtar, who returned to De La Salle after a seven-year absence and led the Pilots to their first semifinals appearance since 2011. “This was a very even game that could have gone either way. But this is high school soccer and sometimes you need to get the bounce in close game.”