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SOCCER: Lutheran North beats Grosse Ile, 1-0 TOUT VIDEO

Mustangs will face Clawson in regional finals

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“The Mustangs.”

Lutheran North boys’ soccer coach Brian Horvath is not into talking singular.

His team is “The Mustangs.”

Ask him how he thought his team played, and he’ll most likely say the Mustangs played well. That was certainly the coach’s reply after Wednesday night’s 1-0 victory over Grosse Ile in a Division 3 regional semifinal game played at Farmington.

Ask him to highlight any individuals who played well, and he instead responds with the plural.

“The Mustangs came together tonight; the Mustangs put a goal on the board and the Mustangs will travel together one more time to Farmington for a game at 5 o’clock Friday,” said Horvath.

The Mustangs will face Clawson in the regional championship game Friday. Coach Jared Kullman’s Clawson squad defeated Jackson Lumen Christi 1-0 in Wednesday’s nightcap.

Still, against the coach’s wishes, a couple individuals who have to be named are Brett Wagner and Vaske Pallanguri. Wagner scored the game’s only goal that came with about 10 minutes left in the first half. Pallanguri got the assist.

“The Mustangs controlled the ball in the first half,” said Horvath. “We had our opportunities. This game could’ve been two or three to nothing.”

The coach has a valid point. Soccer is certainly a team game. The Mustangs win as a team and they lose as a team. In fact, the Mustangs were a team that won Wednesday despite playing without two of their regular starters. Those players had to sit the game out due to red cards received during Lutheran North’s district championship win over Imlay City last week.

“I never said a word about that to the boys prior to this game,” said Horvath. “I had full confidence in the players that we had on the field.”

No matter who the Horvath puts on the field Friday for the regional championship game, they will have to play well. The Mustangs will face a quality Clawson team. The Clawson Trojans were champions of the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division.

“I know Clawson has a good team. They always seem to be in the state tournament at this stage,” said Horvath.

Even though the Lutheran North coach is hesitant to mention individuals, it was goalie Garret Monroe who recorded the shutout. Dominating the midfield was Noah Lesnau. Both are juniors. That, too, is hardly singular when looking at the Mustangs’ roster. There is just one senior on the entire team. The rest are juniors, sophomores and even one freshman.

“Lutheran North is a good team,” said Mike DeSana, the Grosse Ile coach. “They are as good as anyone we’ve played. People forget that they play in a very tough league (the Catholic League AA Division). I mean, they have to regularly face teams like Cranbrook, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard and Divine Child. Those are tough teams to play.

“They took it to us in the first half,” continued DeSana. “They are a disciplined team and they are well-coached. We had trouble getting anything going offensively. Our guys really seemed tight tonight.”

It did not help the Red Devils when Jeffrey Drzyzga went down with an injury in the first half. Even though he returned to play, he was noticeably hobbled. Drzyzga is the team’s leading scorer with 28 goals.

“That hurt when Jeffry went down, but I’m not sure we could’ve beaten Lutheran North anyway. They won at Imlay City with only nine players on the pitch and that is not easy to do,” continued DeSana.

Lutheran North will take an 11-6-4 record into Friday’s game against Clawson.

Last Updated: 10/24/2013 6:26:46 AM EST