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Pontiac NDP stays resilient, executes gameplan to down Brandon in district final WITH PHOTO GALLERY

  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Brandon 2-1 is district final soccer action at Prep Saturday, June 3, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)

PONTIAC – The Pontiac Notre Dame Prep Fighting Irish played a patient game and ground out a 2-1 victory over the Ortonville-Brandon Blackhawks in the District 26 final.

“We did really well today. We did really well except in the final product in front of the goal. We didn’t challenge the goalkeeper enough times with shots on frame,” Fighting Irish head coach Jim Stachura said. “Goals were tough to come by. They (Brandon) played hard, but I thought we really did a good job.”

Notre Dame Prep came out strong, generating seven shots and four corner kicks in the first 10 minutes. But the Fighting Irish were unable to score, as they sprayed most of those shots wide. Once the opening minutes had passed, Brandon was able to settle in and play the kind of defensive game they desired. The Brandon back line of Elayna St. Amour, Colleen Dwyer, Miranda Campe, and Marisa Bone were able to consistently push the Fighting Irish into the wide portions of the field and give them few good scoring chances despite the constant pressure.

“Our exact gameplan was to fight for the 10 minutes. We knew if we could keep them at 0-0 for the first 10, they were going to start pressing a little bit,” Brandon head coach Dennis Shannon said. “Defensively, we stayed very, very connected. We never allowed anybody to have to cover for somebody else, which allowed us to stay in our lanes. Some of the girls played the best games they’ve played in a long time. I couldn’t be any more pleased.”

The Fighting Irish continued to dominate possession behind the play of Itala Gemelli and Olivia Mears. Notre Dame finally broke through with 27:04 to play when Justina Gaynor dribbled across the top of the penalty box, then fired a shot back toward the left corner that the goalkeeper never saw. It threaded its way through a crowd of players and into the net for a 1-0 Notre Dame lead.

The Fighting Irish got an insurance goal from Gemelli with 7:23 to play. Gemelli fired a shot from 20 yards out that hit a body in front and deflected into the same corner as Gaynor’s goal.

“I think as a team we really worked well together, and we really motivated each other. Even when we weren’t scoring, we had a lot of chances, and we knew it would come if we just kept going at them, and kept our spirits up and just kept each other motivated,” Fighting Irish co-captain Eileen Haig said. “It’s really one of our best aspects as a team, is how we motivate each other.”

Brandon would not say die, however, and Rachel Devine pounced on a failed clearing attempt and ripped the ball into the net with 1:02 to play.

Notre Dame would hang on in the final minute though, getting the ball down in Brandon’s end to kill off the clock.

With the win, Notre Dame Prep (16-3-3) advances to the regional, where it will face the Warren Regina Saddlelites.

“A win is a win at this point in time. It’s survive and advance and you just take one at a time,” Stachura said. “It (Regina) is a rivalry game. We didn’t get to play them in the Catholic League this year. I’ve seen them play a couple of times. They’re going to be good. They have a lot of good players, a lot of returning players from last year. I expect it to be a battle.”

Brandon finishes the year 15-8.

“This senior class has been amazing for me, eight of them graduating, and since they have been with me, they have set every school record we could possibly have. Fifty-nine wins in four years is amazing,” Shannon said. “I couldn’t be more proud. Notre Dame is a very good team, coached really well. They stayed very patient. I hope they go. It would be really cool for us to see them continue on.”

Last Updated: 6/3/2017 9:23:41 PM EST


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