Grand Blanc scores twice in the second half to defeat Utica Ford, 2-1, in a D1 semifinal
Rochester Hills – The cardiac kids have done it again.
A dominant team during the regular season, Grand Blanc has developed a strange habit of coming from behind in the postseason against high-level competition.
Whatever method works.
The Bobcats, ranked No. 4, did it again on Wednesday in a Division 1 state semifinal at Rochester Hills Stoney Creek.
Grand Blanc scored twice in the final 24 minutes to defeat No. 10-ranked Utica Ford, 2-1, to advance to Saturday’s 4 p.m. state final at Williamston High School.
The Bobcats lost in the finals in 2004 and 2015, and also the state semifinals in 2005. They will go after their first state title against top-ranked Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
“This is something new for us,” veteran Grand Blanc coach Greg Keller said. “This is the second straight game where we had to play from behind. We were down 2-0 against Walled Lake Northern (in a regional final) and came back and won 5-2. I think we made some adjustments, kept working hard and were able to come back.”
Freshman forward Faith Webber scored both goals for Grand Blanc (22-2-4) to give her a team-leading 25 on the season.
Trailing 1-0, Webber took a pass from sophomore Ally Childers and uncorked a blistering 21-yard inside the far post with 23:51 to play.
The Bobcats continued to pressure late, which resulted in the game-winner with 18:51 remaining.
Junior Morgan Metzger started the play by sending a long ball into the penalty box. Sophomore Paige Webber flicked the ball over to her sister, Faith, who redirected the ball into the goal to put the Bobcats in the lead.
“This is amazing,” Faith Webber said. “To be one of two schools left after all of those great teams (in the tournament) is unbelievable and we’re going to play for the state championship. I’ll probably be lying in bed later and it will finally sink in.”
Ford (16-2-4) dominated play for most of the first half but settled for a 0-0 draw entering halftime. The Falcons, making their second appearance in a semifinal in four seasons, finally took a 1-0 advantage when senior Salena Speagle picked up a loose ball 10 yards in front of the goal and chipped a shot into the right corner.
Ford outshot Grand Blanc, 15-6, including 7-4 with shots on frame, but could never increase its lead. A shot by senior Cecilia Steinwascher’s rang off the crossbar with 29:16 to go much to the chagrin of the Falcons.
“I told our assistants that we need to get a goal in the first half because we knew Grand Blanc would come at us with their fitness,” offered Ford coach Teri Steinwascher. “We knew they were a fit team and what they did to Walled Lake Northern. We let them get to the outside. We did a much better job containing them in the (first) half.
“I’m still proud of this group. We overcame a lot. We came into the season as a group of individuals and we leave as a team. We had an amazing season.”
Grand Blanc has never won a state title in boys or girls soccer despite numerous appearances in both.
“Whoever it is (that we’re playing), we’re going to go out there and play and hope for the best,” said Kehler. “This has been the funnest group of kids I’ve been around. They have great chemistry. Hopefully they have what it takes to win it (all).”