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Grosse Ile postseason run ends in OT shootout with Lansing Catholic PHOTO GALLERY

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It’s tough to lose a soccer game in which you pretty much control play from start to finish. It’s even tougher to lose that game in a shootout. And dealing with the frustration only increases when that game is a Regional final.

Grosse Ile lost to Lansing Catholic Friday night in a sudden-death shootout after the teams played to a 2-2 in regulation and neither team scored in two 10-minute overtimes. The Cougars and Red Devils were deadlocked at 3-3 after the first five shooters completed the shootout, forcing the game to go to a sudden-death shootout.

After Grosse Ile’s Matthew Frost, who scored both goals in regulation, missed on the first extra shootout kick, Lansing Catholic’s Sam Gonzalez ended the game when he beat Devils keeper Jonathan Lem to send the Cougars to the state semifinals with a 3-2 win in the Division 3, Region 10 final at Williamston High School.

Kyle DeSana, Justice White, Jacob Sawicki scored in the shootout for the Devils.

“It’s difficult when you dominate the game in possession and they pack in with six guys in the box the whole time,” said Grosse Ile Coach Jonathan Evans. “It’s difficult to break that down, and we were fortunate enough to get two on them but hats off to them. They came in with a defensive plan and executed it.”

The Devils certainly had more and better scoring chances but had trouble finishing a few that would have made this a very different game.

“The ball just didn’t bounce the right way for us a few times today,” Evans said.

A crucial play in the game came early on when David Cardinal was dragged down on a breakaway just outside the penalty box. The referee gave the Devils a direct kick just outside the box but no card was given to the Lansing Catholic player.

“It was definitely a goal-scoring opportunity and the ref changed the whole game by not giving out a red card,” Evans said. “It was only two minutes into the game but it changed the whole dynamic.”

Lansing Catholic opened the scoring on a rather fluke goal in the first half. At the 27:28 mark, Lansing Catholic’s Gonzalez cruised down the right side and lofted a cross that somehow found the back upper corner of the net to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

But the Devils responded like all good teams do. At 15:03, Frost scored his first of two goals with a perfect header that found the back of the net to tie the score at 1-1.

With 7:18 to go in the first half, Lansing Catholic’s Matthew Plaehn gave the Cougars a 2-1 lead.

The second half, especially early on, belonged to the Devils. In just the first minute, Frost busted in and pushed a shot just wide of the Lansing Catholic goal. A few minutes later, the Devils fired another good scoring chance over the crossbar.

At 32:30, the Devils had a direct kick just outside the box but fired that chance over the crossbar.

At the other end of the field, Lem kept his team in the game. He made two outstanding saves within a minute of each other to keep it a one-goal game.

With 18:40 to play in the game, Frost scored his second goal of the game to tie it at 2-2 as again the Devils fought back to even things up.

Evans said he couldn’t have been more proud of this team, especially the seniors who took Grosse Ile soccer to whole different level of excellence.

“This senior class is the winningest class in Grosse Ile soccer history and to win four District titles and get to two Regional finals in four years is an amazing accomplishment,” Evans said. “They deserve to hold their heads up high.”

The Devils finished the year with a league title, District title, trip to the Regional final and a 22-3-6 overall record.

Grosse Ile defeated Comstock 7-0 in the first round of D3 Regionals while Lansing Catholic knocked off Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard 2-0.

Lansing Catholic plays Nov. 2 against the winner of the Region 12 finals which pitted Charlevoix against Benzie Central.

Last Updated: 10/29/2016 2:16:19 AM EST

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