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GIRLS SOCCER: Novi ends Troy’s run in state semifinals

| June 12, 2018 | Comments (0)

BY DAN STICKRADT

SENIOR EDITOR

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

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ROCHESTER HILLS — One of the most successful girls soccer programs over the last 15 years, Novi is headed back to the Division 1 state finals.

The sixth-ranked Wildcats, who captured state crowns in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011, will go after their sixth state crown on Friday when they face fourth-ranked and preseason No. 1 Grand Blanc following Tuesday’s 4-1 triumph over unranked Troy at Rochester Stoney Creek.

Novi (18-4-1) will face Grand Blanc (25-1-0) at 4 p.m. at Williamston High School. Grand Blanc defeated No. 8 and previously-unbeaten Midland (18-1-6) by a 1-0 count in Tuesday’s other semifinal.

“I told the girls to cherish this because you never know if you will get another opportunity,” said Novi coach Todd Pheiffer. “I mean it’s so hard just to win a district or regional and now we have a chance to play for a state championship. We had a lot of players on our team who

who freshman and sophomores on our team that lost in the semifinals (in 2016). they remember what it’s like to lose in the semis. Now they will have a shot at a state title.”

Novi never trailed, building a 2-0 lead in the first 13:04 of play. The Wildcats settled for a 2-1 halftime advantage before taking on insurance tallies in the 62nd minute and the 71st minute.

Novi scored on its first shot attempt of the contest with 30:45 to play in the first half. Junior Riley Balconi’s perfectly-slotted pass was chased down by sophomore Avery Frenchel, who finished off her breakaway chance.

The Wildcats cashed in again with 26:56 remaining in the half on their second scoring chance. This time it was junior Julia Stadtherr that capitalized on junior Jessie Bandyk’s through ball.

Troy picked up the pace and pulled to within a goal when senior Clare McAuliffe’s high bending cornerback was volleyed home from close range by junior Hailey Stewart. The Colts (9-7-6) carried play down the stretch of the first half and even held a 6-3 shots edge in the first 40 minutes but could not net the equalizer. 

Novi attempted seven total shots — six were on frame in the contest — and still converted twice in the second half to ice the game.

Senior Leah Kiura’s conrerkick was flicked to the back post by Stadtherr and Balconi was there to touch in the ball from two yards out for a 3-1 advantage. Senior Lane Frenchel scored the final goal with 10:00 to play when she was left wide open in the box buried a pass from Bandyk.

“Of the 75 goals that we’ve scored this season, 62 have come off assists. We don’t have a lot of superstars, so we’ve preached being a team all season,” noted Pheiffer. “That is what works for us. Sure, we have three players with a lot of goals, but we have several other players that can score and have done so. That is what makes us dangerous. Teams just can’t mark just 1-2 players. We have a lot of girls, who if you give them a chance, they can finish it.”

Troy was making its first appearance in the Final Four since 2013. The Colts just ran our of luck.

“I thought we could play with them. i thought we did in the first half,” said Troy coach Dan Troccoli. “We had some chances there and cut it to 2-1. But I don’t thing away want to take anything away from Novi. They are a very good team. We just didn’t have it today. We have been playing a lot better the past few weeks and I think the type of schedule we play has helped us. I don’t care about our record. What I am pleased with is the way we play in the tournament. Last season we won a district and this season we won a district and regional and played in the state semifinals. We just didn’t have our best game and lost to a very good team.”

Troy, which fell out of the Division 1 top 20 in late April, actually held a 9-7 shots edge. Novi held a 6-5 edge on shots on goal and a 3-1 edge on cornerkicks. Senior Callie Rich played the first 78 minutes in goal, making four saves, while freshman Abigail Pheiffer played the final two minutes between the pipes in the win for Novi.

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

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