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Anchor Bay beats L'Anse Creuse North on PKs PHOTO GALLERY

  • Rachel Russo of Anchor Bay and Victoria Janas of L'Anse Creuse North battle for the ball during the first half of a district semifinal match at Anchor Bay. The Tars won on penalty kicks.
  • Julia Jones, left, of L'Anse Creuse North and Anchor Bay's Isabella Hunter go for the ball during the first half of a Division 1 district match. The Tars won on penalty kicks.
  • Elise LaPorte of L'Anse Creuse North puts her hand into the stream of water after sprinklers came on during the second half of the Division 1 district semifinal match between the Crusaders and Anchor Bay.

Tars keeper Gaunt's save seals win

A confident keeper helped Anchor Bay advance in the state soccer tournament.

Ally Gaunt’s second of two saves on penalty kicks lifted the Tars to a 2-1 victory over L’Anse Creuse North in a Division 1 district semifinal match at Anchor Bay on Thursday night.

One L’Anse Creuse North PK went over the goal, and Anchor Bay converted on three attempts for a 3-2 advantage on kicks after the rivals were deadlocked 1-1 after 100 minutes, including a pair of 10-minute overtimes.

“It’s just confidence,” Gaunt said after the sophomore was mobbed by teammates following the deciding save.

“We practice them (PKs) almost every day. I knew my girls had their shots. We did it.”

Gaunt stopped the Crusaders’ third and fifth shots.

“I try to wait until the last second, to see where the ball is kicked, and then I go,” she said. “Sometimes it hurts me. Sometimes it works.”

The victory sent the Tars (16-1-4) into the championship game, where they’ll meet Chippewa Valley at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

“This means a ton,” Gaunt said. “We’re not done yet.”

Carlie Barone, Vanna Pratte and Lindsey Shira scored on PKs for Anchor Bay. Caitlin O’Malley and Elise LaPorte converted for L’Anse Creuse North (16-3-1).

Kayla Polisano scored in the fifth minute of the second half of regulation time as the Tars leveled the match at 1-1.

L’Anse Creuse North’s first-half goal was credited to O’Malley.

The loss ended the Crusaders’ season after they captured the MAC White Division championship and blanked Port Huron 8-0 in a district opener.

“I thought it was a fabulous game,” first-year Crusader coach Glen Ursaki said. “As a competitor and an athlete, this is the kind of environment you want to be in.

“There weren’t a lot of shots on goal, but each team had opportunities to put the game away. That’s what happens when you get two good teams together. They (the Tars) did just enough.”

With the score tied, the game was delayed for a few minutes in the second half after sprinklers on the north half of the field began spraying water.

Gaunt stopped PKs to help Anchor Bay win a pair of games in a regular-season tournament at Lake Orion.

“We’ve practiced (penalty kicks) for the last five or six weeks,” Anchor Bay coach Kevin Grammens said. “The same spot, walking up, the same way.”

The victory was Anchor Bay’s second this season over the Crusaders. The Tars won a MAC crossover during the regular season.

“It’s a nice win,” Grammens said. “Credit to L’Anse Creuse North. They’re a good team.

“I believe it helped us to have played in the Red. I think we got stronger as the game went on. We didn’t give up a ton of opportunities. I thought in the second half we could have put it away, but we didn’t finish.”

Anchor Bay did not practice Wednesday, Grammens said, because of the school prom.

“We were a little sluggish at the beginning of the game. When we got down one goal, I wasn’t worried. We’ve been in that spot before.”

Chippewa Valley defeated L’Anse Creuse on Wednesday in the other semifinal game.

Last Updated: 6/1/2017 10:28:21 PM EST