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Marian captures D1 CHSL title after lengthy shootout win over Warren Regina WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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The Mustangs victorious in an eight-round shootout. Isabel Hayes comes up huge.

LIVONIA – The Birmingham Marian Mustangs edged out the Warren Regina Saddlelites 1-0 in an eight round shootout to capture the Catholic High School League Division 1 title.

Isbael Hayes saved Regina’s eighth penalty kick, snagging it as it tried to float under the bar and end the marathon game.

“I was really nervous but tried not to show it. It was just nerve-wracking, but we prepare a lot in practice,” Hayes said. “We’re definitely well prepared, and I just knew I had to save one.”

Regina had had the early lead in the shootout when Saddlelites goalkeeper Cecelia Muskovac came up with a diving save to her left then the Mustangs missed their second kick. But Hayes saved the second Regina kick to keep the shootout close, and Mustangs made their final six kicks to come from behind and win the shootout 6-5.

“It’s unfortunate. It’s a lot of pressure on the kids to put the ball in the back of the net on a penalty kick like that,” Regina head coach Stefano Moraccini said. “But I’m proud of the girls. They stepped up and did their best. We gave it everything we had, and unfortunately this time we came up just a little short.”

One hundred minutes of soccer was not enough as the teams engaged in a defensive struggle all afternoon. Led by the play of central midfielder Claudia Schilling, Marian had the better of possession and kept the Saddlielites pinned in their own end for long stretches, punctuated by the occasional breakout by Regina. But for all of their possession the Mustangs simply could not generate decent scoring chances against the tough Saddlielite defense, which was being organized by Muskovac.

“I’ve been so proud of these defenders and the whole defense because when we talk defense we talk team defense, and they have come to play every single game. We’ve only had eight goals scored against us all year long. That’s a tribute to how they play.”

The closest either team came to scoring in regulation was with about 23 minutes left in the second half. Grace Kinna rattled the crossbar from 30 yards out for Marian. The ball kicked up high, only to be headed off the line by Regina’s Audrey Fleming.

Regina’s best offensive spell came in the first overtime when they kept the pressure on Marian for much of the ten minute period but were unable to find a goal.

With the win, Marian improves to 13-0 and captures their third Catholic League title in four years.

“It’s always huge, regardless of where we made it the previous year,” Marian assistant coach Michael Schilling said.

The top ranked Mustangs now look toward fine tuning for the playoffs where they will be among the favorites in Division 2.

Warren Regina (9-2-4) suffers just their second loss of the year.

Last Updated: 5/20/2017 7:34:08 PM EST

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