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Notre Dame Prep grinds out 3-0 win over Regina to reach D2 regional final WITH PHOTO GALLERY

  • Celia Gaynor, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, celebrates after scoring the eventual winning goal with teammates Maura Kruse (10) and Olivia Mears (17), during regional semifinal soccer action against Warren Regina at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. Prep defeated Regina 3-0. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Betsy Lueck (14), Regina and Payton Williams (19), Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, go up for a header during regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. The Irish defeated Regina 3-0. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Elle McGuire, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, gains control of the ball during regional semifinal soccer action against Warren Regina at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. The Irish defeated Regina 3-0. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Jordyn Collier (foreground), Regina, gets upended by Eileen Haig, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, during regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. Regina dropped the match to the Irish 3-0. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Betsy Lueck, Regina, gains control of the ball during regional semifinal soccer action against Pontiac Notre Dame Prep at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. Regina dropped the match to the Irish 3-0.(MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Mariana Muskovac (23), Regina, goes up for a header during regional semifinal soccer action against Pontiac Notre Dame Prep at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. Regina dropped the match to the Irish 3-0. (Special to The Macomb Daily / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep defeats Warren Regina 3-0 in regional semifinal soccer action at Fenton High School Wednesday June 7, 2017. (MIPrepZone photo / LARRY McKEE)

FENTON – The Pontiac Notre Dame Prep Fighting Irish used opportunistic scoring and a solid defensive effort Wednesday to defeat the Warren Regina Saddlelites, 3-0, and advance to a Division 2 girls soccer regional final.

“We always say, it’s the old Jim Valvano survive and advance. Today was a grind out game. It’s a rival. We kind of expected it to be a physical game,” Notre Dame Prep head coach Jim Stachura said. “We weren’t as dynamic as we were knocking the ball all year, probably (it) was our roughest day doing that,.. I’m proud of my girls, and we’re ready to play one more on Friday.”

Notre Dame Prep got on the board just 2:37 into the game when Justina Gaynor fired a corner kick at the back post and found her sister Celia making a run. Celia split a gap the Fighting Irish had found when scouting the Saddlelites and deflected in for a 1-0 lead.

“That goal right away, we talked about some things when they played Marian the first time. We ran a route that Celia game wide open and unmarked, “ Stachura said. “They listened in training when we work on those kinds of things. That’s why as coaches we have to teach more than just passing and trapping. You have to be able to do some of those little things.”

The game largely settled into a midfield battle after that. Mariana Muskovac led a determined effort from Regina that saw it get an equal share of possession. But the Saddlelites had trouble penetrating Notre Dame Prep’s experienced defense anchored by center backs Nadia Burbank and Payton Williams, both of whom turned in excellent performances.

“We just couldn’t get through that final third and connect and put the ball on frame,” Saddlelites head coach Stefano Moraccini said. “We had a couple of opportunities. The keeper (Notre Dame goalkeeper Katie Mehall) made a couple nice saves on us. But they’re defending state champs, so you know they’re obviously a very good quality team, and we wish them luck the rest of the way.”

The Fighting Irish scored on another corner kick midway through the second half with Maura Kruse heading one in that just snuck across the line off a defender to make it 2-0.

The Fighting Irish added one more goal with just over five minutes to play, putting the game out of reach on a goal from Itala Gemelli as Regina started pressing to get on the board.

“Hats off to them (Notre Dame). They played a smart game, and unfortunately for us they came out on top,” Moraccini said. “But I’m proud of these kids. They battled and they played hard every minute of the game. They battled to the last second today.”

With the win, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep improves to 17-3-3 and advances to Friday’s final where it will face the Linden Eagles, who topped St. Clair, 5-0, in the other semifinal that was played Wednesday at Fenton.

“I think they (Linden) are pretty good. They’re athletic,” Stachura said. “But I think after a game like today if we come out and put a better effort in and work on some things in training, I think we’ll give a much better effort. I think it will be a great game on Friday.”

Warren Regina ends the season 12-3-4.

“We finished with 10 shutouts, and it was a great season. It was my first season here. We made a lot of memories and the girls played hard all season,” Moraccini said. “Overall, I’m very proud to have 12 wins, win our district, finish second in the Catholic League, and runner-up in the Catholic League Championship. It’s a fantastic season. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t continue, but there is always next year to look forward to.”

Last Updated: 6/7/2017 10:59:43 PM EST


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