Northville goes to shootout to defeat Hartland, 2-1, in Division 1 regional semifinal
Novi – If you looked at the stat sheet after the game, it would appear Hartland would have had the upper hand and defeated Northville on Tuesday.
However, with some great goaltending by Northville senior Emily Maresh, the Mustangs beat Hartland 2-1 (4-2 shootout) to advance to Thursday’s regional final against Grand Blanc, a 3-2 winner over Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, at 7 p.m.
“I think she is the best keeper in the state,” Northville coach Eric Brucker said. “She is just sound. She makes my defense better because they have all the confidence in the world in her. That allows us to put more pressure on the ball earlier, and if somebody un-forcedly makes a mistake, we know we have someone that can help fix that mistake.”
Maresh finished with 14 saves and made one save in the shootout to help lead her team to victory.
“When I get up there to go defend the (penalty kick) I’m just trying to watch their body, watch how they’re going to move and react to how their body’s moving,” said Maresh. “And when I let in a goal I just pray that my team is going to back me up and finish their shots.”
The game was tied at halftime, 0-0, when Northville’s Sarah Park buried a header into the bottom right corner slightly over 11 minutes into the second half on a beautiful corner kick feed from teammate Morgan Gozdor.
After Park’s goal, Hartland elevated its game to a whole new level. Led by senior forward Maddie Pogarch, the Hawks completely controlled the tempo in the second half.
After a few missed opportunities, Alex Rigonan tied up the game as she knocked the ball past Maresh into the bottom right corner, set up by a perfectly placed cross from Pogarch.
After two uneventful 10 minute overtime periods, a shootout was needed to determine a winner.
Northville junior Kelsey Estes was the first for the Mustangs and got her team off to a 1-0 start.
“Well since I was the first I was really nervous and I’m not gonna lie… I kind of blacked out when I set the ball down and shot it,” said Estes. “Nothing was really going through my head besides where I was aiming.”
Pogarch was first for the Hawks and tied up the shootout, 1-1. After Erica Gumkowski gave the Mustangs a 3-2-shootout lead, Maresh stopped the ensuing attempt by Brenna Seaman.
Christine Bowen, the goalie for Hartland, made a save on the following shot but Hartland’s Sakura Bals missed her attempt wide left so the score stayed at 3-2.
Northville junior Alissa Moore drilled her penalty kick into the bottom right corner, and the Mustangs gathered at center field celebrating their victory.
Hartland had 24 scoring chances, but ultimately that was not enough.
“Maddie (Pogarch) is an outstanding player and that’s why we had to man-mark her and she still got the assist,” said Brucker. “Hartland is a great team. They had by far the best all-around individual foot skill of any team we’ve played so far this year.
“We’re going play our best (in the regional final). We are who we are. We are a defensive oriented team. We don’t score a lot of goals. Most of the teams that are left in this tournament are pretty offensive minded, so kind of like tonight it will be a great matchup and a test of wills if you will.”