Trenton advances to Division 2 Semifinal with 1-0 win over Livonia Ladywood
Livonia – Even though Trenton entered this season with plenty of youth and just two players from its 2012 team that won the school’s first regional title, coach Michael Hatfield still felt that this year’s team had what it took to advance to the semifinal round for a second time in four years.
And in the end, it was the youth of Trenton that helped prove to be the difference in Thursday’s regional title game against host Livonia Ladywood.
Behind a goal from freshman Kate Olszewski and stellar play in net from sophomore Christina Wynn late in the game, Trenton (19-3-2) held on for a 1-0 lead as the Trojans advanced to the Division 2 semifinals against Fenton on Tuesday at West Bloomfield at 7 p.m.
“If you look at it, we only have two seniors,” Hatfield said. “But we are junior loaded, and we are sophomore loaded, but they’re highly experienced players, they come from really good clubs, so they understand the pressures. High school is different, because you’re playing with your friends and in front of different crowds had so there was that extra pressure and you could tell that in the second half.
“We started to fall apart a little bit and Ladywood started picking it up a little bit, which is normal in a 1-0 game and we started to defend a little bit more, but Ladywood had some really clean chances at the end.”
Olszewski scored with 13:13 left in the first half as she watch a shot go wide and picked the ball up on a Ladywood attempt to clear the ball as she put the ball in the net past a diving goalkeeper.
“It’s really exciting,’ Olszewski said. “I didn’t think I was going to get it, but I’m really glad I did. I just thought I was going to be there just in case and I just hit it in.”
Hatfield said that while Olszewski is somewhat new to the position she played on Thursday, she timed her run to the net perfectly and was there at the right moment to pick up the ball that came through the box and right to her.
“We’ve talked about spacing our runs in different places and different timings,” he said. “She hasn’t played a lot in that position, so it’s relatively new to her and I told her to understand the tactical movements. But when balls get serves, you’re not the first player to go, you’re the player that sits at the back door and waits for that ball and that ball came and it went in and that was huge.”
As Ladywood turned up the offensive pressure in the second half it was Wynn and the Trenton backline that needed to come up with key stops to keep the Blazers off the scoreboard.
With just under 20 minutes left in the game Wynn made a leaping save on a shot sent towards the top left corner and, not long after, she made another diving save that was later cleared by the backline.
“It was just a straight reaction,” Wynn said of the leaping save. “I didn’t even think about it. It was one-two-three bam, you can’t think about anything, just reaction.”
Arguably the best opportunity of the game for Ladywood came with just 4:30 left in regulation when Clare Kelly sent a shot towards the net and went over the outstretch hand of Wynn. It deflected off the crossbar and went out of play.
In the stressful final 20 minutes of the game, Wynn kept preaching her teammates to stay active defensively and specifically to mark Ladywood junior Conner Huggins who helped set up a handful of chances for the Blazers.
“I was just telling the girls to keep working hard and get to every single ball,” she said. “You can’t let up one goal. No. 6 (Huggins), she was a hard runner, she had a great shot and we needed to cover her entry passes and get to every ball. We just had to be faster and be stronger.”