GIRLS SOCCER: Rochester wins first regional crown since 2007 | North Oakland Sports

GIRLS SOCCER: Rochester wins first regional crown since 2007

| June 10, 2013 | Comments (0)



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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Since finishing as the state runner-up in girls soccer in 1997, Rochester has failed to get out of one of the state’s toughest districts. This season after winning its first district in six years, the Falcons have opted to stick around a while in the postseason.

Rochester, ranked seventh in Division 1 entering the postseason, captured its first regional title Thursday since that 2007 season and fourth overall over a 19-year span, topping Hartland, 4-0, in the regional finals at West Bloomfield High School.

Rochester also won regional titles in Class A in 1994 and 1995 to go along with regional titles in ’07 and ’13. This time Rochester did so in dominating fashion, beating Hartland in all phases of the game.

Rochester will face OAA Red Division member Troy in the state semifinals at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Lake Orion. Rochester and Troy tied 1-1 late in the regular season.

“I thought we dominated the whole game,” said Rochester coach Cliff Brandmier. “We had all kinds of (scoring) chances and we really didn’t allow them much of anything.”

Rochester (19-2-5) led only 1-0 at the half before piling on three goals over the final 40 minutes to put an end to Hartland’s most successful season since moving to Division 1 a dozen years ago.

“I think we were able to exploit them out wide with our speed and ability to cross the ball (into the box),” offered Brandmier. “We were able to do that throughout most of the game.”

Junior Gemma Najar gave Rochester its first goal in the 24th minute, when she pounced on a rebound following a shot by senior Jenny Goethals.

Rochester outshot Hartland 19-2, including 17-1 with shots on goal. Stephanie Heber, who is headed for Seton Hall, extended her single-season school record with her 18th shutout by making just one save.

“She rarely touched the ball. Our defense was really good,” praised Brandmier.

Julie DeBus made 10 saves for Hartland (16-3-2), including a penalty kick late in the first half. Debus was ejected for a red card early in the second half for tripping up a Rochester forward in the penalty box.

The Falcons responded with three goals after that point on freshman backup Alexa Johnson, who finished with three saves.

Senior Aubrey Konal drilled a penalty kick in the 49th minute which essentially put the game away, while freshman Meridith Anness and Najar scored goals down the stretch to cap the scoring.

“We thought if we could win our district, we could make a little bit of a run. We won our district in dramatic fashion and then we didn’t have any drama to win our regional,” said Brandmier.  “Once we came back to beat (Rochester) Adams in the district finals, I think the girls realized that they can go a long ways and maybe contend for a state championship.

“We are so deep that we just wear teams down,” added Brandmier. “We have one of the state’s best goalkeepers and we can go 18 deep without any drop off. Not too many teams can do that.”

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