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Late goal lifts top-ranked Flint Powers past Lutheran North PHOTO GALLERY

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HOWELL>> For the second straight year, Lutheran North’s meeting with Flint Powers Catholic ended in heartbreak.

A Rachel Raisins goal in the 79th minute — with 1:11 remaining — broke a one-all tie and lifted the top-ranked Chargers to a 2-1 win over the Mustangs in a Division 3 semifinal at Parker Middle School in Howell Tuesday evening.

In a match that played out similarly to last year’s regional final, Lutheran North grabbed an early lead only to falter late.

“It’s just as bad… no, it’s worse,” Mustang head coach Greg Decourval said. “We fought so hard and kept them at bay for large chunks of that second half.

“It stings.”

Raisins’ game winner came on a blast from 25 yards out that was just out of reach of Lutheran North goalkeeper Abigale Dubak. Seventy-one seconds later, the Powers’ celebration was underway.

“We game planned for that second half and we knew we were going to absorb some pressure,” Decourval said. “We took away their width and we were looking good.

“Unfortunately, things just didn’t go out way.”

In last year’s regional final, the Mustangs had a two-goal lead midway through the first half, only to have the Chargers score three times in the final 21 minutes to complete the comeback.

Powers only had to overcome a one-goal deficit this time around.

Emma Murlick got North (12-7-2) on the board in the fourth minute, on a rising shot that sailed past Powers keeper Natalie Deitering. Kennedy Myers netted the equalizer in the 33rd minute, beating Dubak on the near post on a shot that never left the ground.

“It was eerily similar to last year’s game,” Decourval said. “We knew they were going to control the middle; they do a phenomenal job of that.”

Powers dominated possession most of the match, with North looking to counter. Despite the Chargers’ sustained pressure, the two teams played to a one-all tie at the half.

Making a formation change at the half resulted in more touches for the Mustangs, though much of the action remained in North’s defensive third. The Chargers had three quality scoring chances in the second half, that resulted in either a Dubak save or a shot sailing wide of the net.

Lutheran North’s best scoring chance in the second half came in the 52nd minute, when Megan Starkey’s shot barely missed the target.

Flint Powers head coach Jerry Anderson said last year’s meeting got his team’s attention, and the No. 1- ranked Chargers were going to have their hands full.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” he said. “We knew they were going to come out and play hard…I truthfully think we just gassed them.”

The state semifinal appearance was Lutheran North’s second all-time; the program’s first since 1994 — a 2-1 loss to Bishop Foley.

Decourval, in his fifth year at the helm, had high praise for his departing senior class.

“They’ve kind of built the program with me,” he said. “A few of them were logging heavy minutes as freshmen.

“This is a great group of girls.”

Powers will play Freeland, which knocked off Hudsonville Unity Christian 3-2, in the Division 3 state championship game Friday afternoon at Williamston. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.

Last Updated: 6/13/2017 9:43:44 PM EST