By David Troppens
Flint — In early April, the Fenton varsity girls soccer team was still trying to find its regular-season legs underneath them.
The Tigers had just beaten Swartz Creek to get their first win in three tries during the early portion of the season. But even then, Fenton varsity girls soccer coach Matt Sullivan knew there was something special about his senior class.
“I can tell you we are going to have a lot of fun this year,” Sullivan said. “These seniors are dead set on having fun this year and I’m excited. How that translates on the field — that usually translates into good things.”
See Fenton on 15A
Continued from Page 13A
It did translate into great things. The Fenton Tigers captured an outright Metro League title, defeated state-ranked
Goodrich and Notre Dame Prep and also area rival Holly to win a district crown. And before their postseason tournament run was over, the Tigers also defeated top-ranked DeWitt in the regional semifinals.
But the Tigers’ season finally came to an end Thursday during the squad’s regional championship contest against Flint Powers in a 2-0 loss at Flint’s Atwood Stadium, the location of their 2-1 victory against DeWitt just two days earlier.
“I’m going to remember every practice that we laughed and goofed around,” one of Fenton’s 13 seniors Hanna Chapin said. “I’m going to remember every game and how we came together as a team was incredible. I’m going to remember every girl on the team.
“We took it one day at a time and every game we were fighting for one more dinner together, one more practice, so we weren’t really paying too much attention if they were ranked or were not ranked, if it was Powers or not Powers.”
We took it one day at a time, played our game and fought for one day.”
Maybe it was a case of just too many strong teams in too little of a time. Powers controlled the action most of the game, by matching the Tigers’ typically physical style of play, suggesting that maybe two strong contests against two talented and physical foes may have been just a bit too much for Fenton on Thursday. But it still took a flukish goal for the Chargers to break manage the only goal of the first half. The Tigers had two defenders and keeper Lauren Kosielniak run up to collect a ball, but when a collision happened, Powers Domi Amato was able to take the loose ball and score the game’s first goal about seven minutes into the contest.
With the way Powers played, that goal ended up being more than enough. Fenton had limited scoring chances throughout the night, as the Tigers were unable to unleash their two star attackers — Lauren Murphy and Callie Dickens — in open space with the ball most of the contest. Late in the first half, Murphy had a header off the crossbar that went high.
In the second half, Fenton didn’t have consistent possession of the ball in the Chargers’ side of the pitch until there was about 28:30 left in the contest. The Tigers were able stay down at that side for about two minutes, but were unable to get a shot off against the Chargers’ strong defense.
Eventually, Powers put a second goal on the board with 13:03 left. While the Tigers were trying to keep the ball inside the Powers’s defensive zone, the charter’s Emily Lendzion forced a takeaway, sent a ball to Rachel Rasins who then scored on a breakaway attempt. Powers led 2-0.
“We were a little banged up from that DeWitt game,” Sullivan said. “We just couldn’t find our legs. We kept scrapping and fighting, but we needed a little bit of luck tonight. We needed a bounce to go our way tonight, but it didn’t, but that’s OK. It doesn’t take anything away from the season, and how great these seniors were and how special they will always be to this program. They have set the bar and have set a new mark.”
The senior class was large, 13 strong. It included Erin Conry, Chloe Wagner, Abbey Lee, Kirsten Foor, Murphy, Makayla Murphy, Chapin, Lauren Lamb, Koscielniak, Shelby Murphy, Delaney Miesch, Emma Snedden and Eibhen MacIntryre.
“I just told them they raised the bar on what we expect from seniors,” Sullivan said. “It’s so hard to do when you have that many seniors for all of them to be that unselfish. It’s just amazing. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”