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Cranbrook Kingswood advances in Division 2 with 1-0 victory over Ortonville Brandon

By: State Champs! Network, October 29, 2015, 11:00 pm


Jon Pfaff


Auburn Hills – Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood is moving on to the Division 2 soccer semifinal after defeating Ortonville Brandon, 1-0, on Thursday at Auburn Hills Avondale.


The Cranes will face the winner of Saturday’s Mason-Dearborn Divine Child region final on Wednesday at Farmington Hills Harrison.


Senior forward Kennie Kernen scored for Cranbrook Kingswood in the 65th minute on a corner kick served up by junior forward Cullin Irvine.


“We were so close on so many set pieces; the wind played a huge factor in this game. The goalie just misjudged it, he came out too early and I was able to lose my defender and place it in the back of the net,” Kernen said.


With the win the Cranes extend their winning streak to 12. Coach Chad O’Kulich was satisfied with the night’s effort and upbeat about his team’s chances on moving forward.


“That was just a great game,” he said. “Shawn Lovelace is a first-class coach and he had his boys ready to play. I think our boys continued to stay within our system of play which is be patient and wait for opportunities. Then when we have our opportunities, execute and seize it and that’s what we did.”


Cranbrook set the pace early in the first half, possessing the ball deep in Brandon’s territory frequently. When the Cranes hit the post in the 17th minute on a shot from Irvine, it looked as if they were nearing a breakthrough.


The Blackhawks weathered the storm and evened out play at times in the first half, having a few quality spells of possession near Cranbrook Kingswood senior goalkeeper Trevor Stormes.


“We played our game plan the best we could,” Brandon coach Shawn Lovelace said. “We’re a defensive squad and we wanted to hold their chance to as few as we could and look for those couple we could get. We didn’t capitalize and that’s what it comes down to.”


Brandon also shut down most of the Cranbrook Kingswood attacks down its right sideline in the first half. Senior defenders Seth Hanft and Nolan Tews cleaned out the back end on that side well, but it was the left side where the Cranes probed closer and closer.


Blackhawks senior goalkeeper Brennan Swix made some big saves keeping his team in it. At the half, Cranbrook Kingswood dominated in shots and chances, 8-1 and 8-2, respectively.


The second half started off even with neither side taking control. Cranbrook Kingswood began to pick things up as the half wore on.


Just before Kernen’s goal the Cranes had an almost certain goal lined up when Blackhawks junior midfielder James Gonzalez cleared the line.


Moments later Kernen capitalized.


“Kennie Kernen coming through and banging that ball into the back of the net was unbelievable. Great service in the corner,” O’Kulich said.


The Cranes played shut down defense from that point on.


Brandon had a chance to equalize on a direct free kick in the Cranbrook Kingswood box but shot wide. That would be the best chance they had for the remaining minutes.


Lovelace was glowing about the effort his team put forth after the game.


“I’m really pleased with my guys, I couldn’t be prouder. They’re a hardworking bunch and they gave Cranbrook a game tonight,” Lovelace said.