GIRLS SOCCER: Eisenhower cruises past Rochester and into district finals | North Oakland Sports

GIRLS SOCCER: Eisenhower cruises past Rochester and into district finals

| May 30, 2014 | Comments (0)


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UTICA — Perhaps Utica Eisenhower has been a victim of proximity in recent years.

The highly-touted Eagles were placed in a district last season that featured four ranked teams. This season Eisenhower is one of three-ranked schools in the same district.

Nevertheless, the Eagles have not advanced out of district play the past two seasons due to proximity to other soccer power schools. They hope to remedy that this season.

Eisenhower advanced to the district finals with its second district shutout of the week Thursday at Utica Swinehart Stadium, topping Rochester 3-0 in a game the Eagles dominated from start to finish.

The win propels Eisenhower into Saturday’s district finals against third-ranked Rochester Stoney Creek, a 2-1 winner over eighth-ranked Rochester Adams in Thursday’s other district semifinal.

“It’s really not fair,” noted Eisenhower coach Mehrdad Nekoogar. “It’s not fair to Adams, it’s not fair to us and it’s not fair to Stoney have all of these great teams in one district. I wish they could seed these (tournaments). But what are you going to do.”

Eisenhower did its part of not becoming an upset victim. Last season the Eagles’ only loss came against Adams in the district semifinals when both were ranked in the state.

The Eagles took a 1-0 lead with 29:41 left in the first half when Isabella Palazzolo scored an unassisted goal.

Eisenhower countered with two more goals within a five-minute span early in the second half to eliminate any hopes the Falcons might have had of a rally.

Jessica DeClearcq and Jillian Doss scored the final two goals, the last coming with 35:08 still to play in the contest. Nekoogar began subbing freely after that point.

Scoring goals this season has not been a problem for Eisenhower, although the journey will get a little tougher against Stoney Creek, which has won back-to-back OAA Red Division titles and only lost four games the past two years.

Remie Wozniak made two saves for shutout for Eisenhower (15-1-2), which has now won 10 straight.

“We have some very good offensive players that can score,” noted Nekoogar. “They are all (well-respected) in the state and when we get the ball to them they can do a lot of damage.

“I think that we were able to get the early goal on (Rochester) and that opened things up for us,” continued Nekoogar. We did a great job of finishing early in the second half and then I was able to play a lot of girls (with the lead).”

Rochester, which suffered through a major rebuilding season after reaching the Division 1 state semifinals for the fourth time last spring, finished a substandard 2-13-3, the Falcons’ first losing season since 1990.

Rochester played better down the stretch after a disasterous 1-7-1 start, but couldn’t find enough offense to pull an upset. The lack of offense became the Falcons’ Achilles Heel all season.

“It’s unfortunate because you can’t turn the season on with three weeks to go,” sighed Rochester coach Colby Cunningham. “You can’t make excuses. Didn’t have a preseason, didn’t have much of a middle season. Good teams can weather that storm. I don’t think the effort was there (tonight).”

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