GIRLS SOCCER: Adams edges Waterford Mott, Grand Blanc ousts Heartland to advance to regional finals | North Oakland Sports
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GIRLS SOCCER: Adams edges Waterford Mott, Grand Blanc ousts Heartland to advance to regional finals

| June 5, 2018 | Comments (0)

BY DAN STICKRADT

SENIOR EDITOR

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

Twitter: @LocalSportsFans

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Maddie Dolenga might only be a freshman, but she’s playing beyond her age.

The Rochester Adams goalkeeper made three clutch saves in 75 minutes of action Tuesday, and 18th-ranked Rochester Adams withstood Waterford Mott, 2-1, in a Division 1 regional semifinal at Rochester Stoney Creek.

“It’s just my job to come up big for my team,” said Dolenga, who helped Adams win the OAA Red Division title this spring and a shootout win over Utica Eisenhower in the district finals. “I’ve been working hard all season and I’ve been working hard on my vertical jump. I’m one of the shortest goalies in our league and that’s my job and my team needs me to play big.”

Adams (20-4-4) will take on fourth-ranked Grand Blanc at 7 p.m. Thursday in the regional finals, also at Stoney Creek. Grand Blanc (23-1-0) edged Hartland, 1-0, in the first semifinal Tuesday.

Adams built a 2-0 lead and withstood some pressure and a late goal by Mott (22-4-0) to prevail and reach the regional finals for the first time since 2012.

“She made a couple of great saves tonight. She’s played like that the whole season, really, which is why she’s in there,” smiled Adams coach Josh Hickey, noting that Dolenga comes on the heels of two All-State goalkeepers that are playing Division I college soccer.   

Adams outshot Mott by a slim 15-14 margin, including 8-7 with shots on frame. Mott had several quality chances, including several in spurts of the second half.The Coarsairs were stymied for the first 79 minutes of play.

“Mott puts a lot of pressure on you and when you turn the  ball over you just give up opportunities,” said Hickey. “Maddie was on her game like she always is. She’s done really well. She’s very composed, her leadership is incredible (for a freshman) and her shot-blocking ability is getting better and better.”

Patience and sticking to the game plan has paid off for the Highlanders, who not only lost a quality group to graduation last spring but lost six other players that opted to play club ball through the US Soccer Developmental Academy this spring.

“That’s been the story of our season to be honest with you. They’re really smart. They follow the game plan and we don’t panic too often,” continued Hickey. “Every now and then we have breakdowns just like any other team. But they always come back and are ready to go.”

Sophomore Justice Tillotson gave Adams a 1-0 lead with 22:18 to play in the opening half when she chipped a shot over Mott Goalkeeper Tairyn Webb following a through pass by Tammy Smith.

Tillotson, who has committed to Michigan State, set up the eventual game winner when her pass from the corner found senior midfielder Hailey Wentzloff and the Grand Valley State-Bound Wentzloff cut the ball back in the middle of the box and beat Webb to the right side with 15:49 remaining.

Dolenga recorded five saves overall and backup Amanda Babiak made one save but yielded a late goal to the Corsairs. Webb finished with six saves for Mott, twice diving on the ground to turn away point-blank shots.

Mott, which captured its first-ever district title three days earlier and recorded a school record for wins by seven victories, scored with 52 seconds left when senior forward Hannah Crum scored on a rebound during a wild goal mouth scramble. Adams attempted two shots in the final 30 seconds and did not let Mott threaten after its late tally cut the deficit down to one goal.

“I don’t know they’re goalkeeper’s name but she was incredible,” sighed Mott coach Evan Baker, who has turned the Corsairs into a competitive program over the past decade. “The upper-90 save that she made was incredible.”

Mott’s record-breaking season came one win shy of the Elite Eight. Previously, Mott had reached the district finals a couple of times but entered unchartered waters with it first district title in 2018.

“I thought we had some chances and so did they. It was a great game,” added Baker. “We’re sad to see it end. I couldn’t be more proud of our seniors for everything that they’ve done. There wasn’t any real history here until they arrived and they have set a new standard for Mott soccer and something that all of the younger players that come up through our program will have to live up to.”

GRAND BLANC 1, HARTLAND 0: After defeating Hartland, 5-1, just one month ago on May 8, fourth-ranked Grand Blanc found a little more resistance from the Eagles in Tuesday’s Division 1 regional semifinal at Rochester Stoney Creek.

It took a goal in the 75th minute for the Bobcats to escape danger and advance to Thursday’s regional finals thanks to this 1-0 victory.

Grand Blanc captured its 20th straight win and will play at 7 p.m. Thursday, also at Stoney Creek, in the regional finals against 18th-ranked Rochester Adams.

Grand Blanc defeated Adams, 1-0, in a non-conference game back on April 30.

Sophomore forward Jenna Blackburn notched her 16th goal of the campaign with 5:32 left in the game to snap the scoreless deadlock. Sophomore Paige Webber sent a quick pass over to junior sister Faith Webber, who deflected a pass onward to Blackburn, who left no doubt with a shot to the left corner.

Junior Madison McKay finished with three saves for Grand Blanc’s 15th shutout of the season.

Andrea Everett made 13 saves in 14 attempts for Hartland (14-5-4).

“Hartland played us a little differently, which is what I expected,” said veteran Grand Blanc coach Greg Kehler. “The last time they went with a 3-5-2 (formation) and left some of our attackers open a little more. This time they went with a little different formation and that frustrated us a little bit.

“I thought that they had a lot more energy than we did to be honest,” continued Kehler. “They got numbers to the ball, especially in the first half. They did a really good job of keeping us from doing what we do best, which is switching up the point of attack and getting to the open field. My hat’s off to Hartland. They played a great (defensive) game.”

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About Dan Stickradt: DAN STICKRADT | SENIOR EDITOR dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com View author profile.

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