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Linden overwhelms, outplays St. Clair in regional semifinal WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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The Saints found out — the hard way — just how difficult life can be after winning a district title.

St. Clair, on the heels of its first district championship since 2001, failed to register a shot on goal and were outplayed in every facet of the game in a 5-0 loss to No. 7-ranked Linden a Region 7 semifinal Wednesday evening at Fenton High School.

“This is what happens when you get into regionals; you play against teams that can take a player off and put a player on that was just as good,” St. Clair head coach Joe Kunce said. “That’s something, when you have 15 players on your roster, it’s tough to compete.”

Hannah Wabel scored twice for Linden in the victory; Lauren Gocha, Alia Fredrick and Tayler Moraczewski also scored for the Eagles in the win.

Linden’s edge was most noticeable in its superior athleticism; the Eagles dominated possession and kept the ball above the midfield game nearly the entire 80 minutes of play.

“Every single player knew their position,” Kunce said of Linden’s tactical approach. “When we’re tired and have to make subs, we’re putting players in a position in which they don’t normally play.”

Gocha got Linden on the board in the 13th minute, sending a shot past diving St. Clair goalkeeper Kara Donaldson and into the net. Wabel made it a two-goal lead in the 27th minute, as she headed a re-directed corner kick into the net.”

“I’m excited for the girls,” Linden head coach Kevin Fiebernitz said. “I don’t think we played our best; I thought we were rushing a little bit.”

Whether it was the Eagles’ best performance of the season or not proved moot; it was too much for the Saints. Linden completely neutralized St. Clair’s potent offense, something Fiebernitz said was a byproduct of his team’s ability to maintain possession.

“I think a lot is if just we can possess the ball, the less touches those girls are going to have,” he said.

Frederick made it a 3-0 game in the 52nd minute, burying a cross from Madeline Zayan into the Saints’ net. Wabel scored her second goal in the 59th minute to extend the lead to four.

Moraczewski capped the scoring in the 73rd minute — on yet another cross to get through the St. Clair defense.

With the victory, Linden advanced to the Region 7 championship game where it was take on Pontiac Notre Dame Prep — which defeated Warren Regina 3-0 in the other regional semifinal. The championship game is slated for 6 p.m. Friday.

St. Clair’s season ends with a 16-3-4 (8-0-4 MAC Gold) record. The Saints won their first league title since 2009 and their first district title since 2001.

“This season was a great season,” Kunce said. “This was a great group of girls and they all did their part.

“To win the district title, to win the league; those were our goals coming in,” he said. “Anything after that was icing on the cake.”

Last Updated: 6/8/2017 10:36:33 AM EST