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Birmingham Marian knocks off Linden to reach Division 2 championship game WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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The Mustangs will face Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern for a chance at a title on Friday.

Game Info

Soccer - Girls - 6/13/2017 

Linden 0
Birmingham Marian 2
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NOVI — Returning to the stage and site of last season’s heart-breaking defeat in the Division 2 semifinals, early offense and stingy defense produced a different result this time for Birmingham Marian in a 2-0 win over Linden.

The still-unbeaten Mustangs punched their ticket to Friday’s state championship game, ending a three year absence by continuing to execute and sharpen the aspects of their game that have worked all season.

“We pride ourselves on getting to this semifinal game, especially with the way things ended last year on the same field. We definitely wanted to turn it around,” Marian assistant coach Adam Gorski said, referring to a one-goal semifinals loss to Pontiac Notre Dame Prep a year ago. “The girls played hard. We’ve been preaching hard work all year, so our end result here is definitely worthy. We’re looking forward to Friday.”

The Mustangs (23-0) very nearly scored in the opening 30 seconds against Linden, and were able to cash in soon after as scoring chances piled up.

Marian’s crisp passing and ability to locate open teammates paid off with two goals in quick succession approaching the midway point of the first half.

First, Morgan Cochran sent a long lead pass through the middle for Jansen Eichenlaub to catch up with in the offensive box, drawing a defender to her and zipping a pass to senior Ellie DeConinck to boot home for a goal.

Less than four minutes later, the Mustangs struck quickly in transition when senior Elaina Eckert sprung Eichenlaub for a footrace to the ball with the goalkeeper. Eichenlaub got a quick foot on the ball just before the two players converged, punching it past and into the vacated net for a 2-0 lead.

Defensively, Marian kept the scoresheet clean once again having not permitted a goal against through six postseason games.

“We try to stick to the way we like to play, with possession to get the ball wide and look to cross it in,” Mustangs senior Maria Kaschalk said. “We knew Linden had a strong attack with (Alia Fredrick and Madeleine Zayan) up top and their other players filling in. We knew if we could shut those two down, we could play our game and get our chances.”

Senior goalkeeper Isabel Hayes posted the shutout in net for Marian, withstanding second half pressure applied by Linden.

Seeking the program’s first state title since 2012, Marian will take on last year’s Division 2 runner-up, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern – a 4-1 winner over Holland Christian Tuesday. The championship will be played a 4 p.m. Friday at Williamston High School.

“We’re going to have a scouting report on them tomorrow and see what we can do. We’ll enjoy this one for a few hours and we’ll be back to work tomorrow,” Gorski said. “Our end goal is not just to win the semifinals, but to play hard and compete on Friday. I know Forest Hills Northern has always been successful over there and have a great track record. It’s definitely going to be a battle, but one that the girls are looking forward to taking on.”

Last Updated: 6/13/2017 9:46:08 PM EST


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