Metzger’s goal leads Grand Blanc past Troy Athens, into first Division 1 Final since 2004
Rochester – As an eighth grader Morgen Metzger was in attendance for several of Grand Blanc’s games, knowing she wanted to play for the school.
But what Metzger didn’t know is that just one year later, she would score one of, if not the biggest goal of her career for the Bobcats.
With less than 30 minutes left to play in Wednesday’s Division 1 semifinal against Troy Athens, Metzger took a pass from senior Annie Walker and sent a shot up and over the Athens keeper for the game’s only goal to give Grand Blanc a 1-0 win, sending the Bobcats to their first state championship game since 2004.
Grand Blanc (18-5-5) now advances to the Division 1 state championship game where the Bobcats will face unbeaten Saline on Saturday at 4:00 pm at Michigan State University.
Grand Blanc coach Greg Kehler said that he knew how well organized the Athens team was and how good its goalkeeper is, but knew it would take a great play to get the win and move on.
“He (Athens coach Todd Heugh) has his team so organized and so good and their goalkeeper we knew was really good,” he said. “So it was going to take a special play to beat them and we had to play solid defense and help out everywhere, which we did.”
Early on in the second half, Athens (16-5-4) keeper Amanda Harris made a leaping save to deny Grand Blanc of a first goal on an Alexis Trudeau shot.
But just minutes later, Metzger got her team on the scoreboard as she took another high shot attempt for Grand Blanc, but this time, the shot went up and over the outstretched hand and into the back of the net to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead with just under 30 minutes remaining.
Metzger said that she took a cross from Walker and added that she thinks her shot may have caught the Athens keeper by surprise.
“I was making a run up the middle and there was a cross to me (from Waker),” she said. “I flicked it up and it went under the crossbar.
“I don’t think she was ready for it to come in,” Metzger added. “I don’t think she thought I was going to shoot it.”
The goal was just the third of the season for Metzger.
“That was a great play, what a volley, what a play by a freshman” Kehler said of Metzger’s shot. “She made a run from her central attacking spot and Annie made a run away and drew a couple of defenders away, which was kind of key and Morgen slid into an open space, caught the ball on a bounce for a half volley. It was a beautiful shot.”
Troy Athens coach said that the injury bug eventually caught up to his team on Wednesday evening, as his team was forced to rely on players to play big minutes in the heat, trying to come back late in the game.
“We threw players forward, they threw players back and it was just an even number,” he said. “I think the injury bug got to us and we had to put a lot of miles on a lot of kids today in the heat and we just tried to get the ball behind and we just couldn’t.”
While there has been an 11 year wait for the Bobcats to reach the State Championship game, Walker said that she and her teammates will be ready to go on Saturday and it would be the perfect way to cap off a senior season for herself and the rest of the Grand Blanc seniors.
"There’s nothing bigger than this," she said. "There’s nothing bigger for our team, my team is one of the most important things to me in the world and to have a state championship under our belt, especially for our seniors last season, it would be amazing.