GIRLS SOCCER: Late first-half goal propels Rochester past Adams and into district finals

| June 2, 2022 | Comments (0)




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ROMEO – Rochester has enjoyed one of its best seasons in school history up until this point. The dream season continued Wednesday night.

The unbeaten Falcons advanced to the district finals for the first time since 2013 with a narrow 1-0 victory over rival Rochester Adams in a Division 1 district semifinal at Romeo High School.

Rochester (14-0-4) will face the winner of the Rochester Stoney Creek-Utica Eisenhower semifinal contest Saturday at 1 p.m., also at Romeo, and will go after the school’s 11th district crown. The Falcons won district titles in 1987, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2013.

Senior defender Kennedy Fraser scored just her third goal of the season with 50 seconds left in the first half to keep Rochester’s season alive. Junior Natalie Rayce drew the assist.

“That’s a senior scoring a big-time goal for us. Kennedy has been solid in the back for us, but she occasionally gets forward and she was able to come through for us with the goal,” said Rochester coach Doug Steinard. “Natalie Rayce slotted the ball through to her and she put one in from inside the 18.”

Freshman Alice Max notched the shutout on eight saves with defensive help from Leila Lanier, Ella Massa, Emma Barker and Kennedy. It was the ninth shutout on the campaign over 18 games, where fifth-ranked Rochester has outscored the opposition by a 53-14 margin.

The Falcons’ defense shut down Adams senior Remy Tillitson, who has signed with NCAA Division I powerhouse Texas Christian University.

“She didn’t score against us in either game this season and we rarely allowed her to get a shot (on frame),” added Steinard. “Our defense has been really solid this year and it was again tonight when it really mattered.

“We don’t have as many shutouts as I would like, but we played a lot of girls in our non-league games and gave up some late goals against some teams,” noted Steinard. “In the big games we normally play around 16 girls. We are hard to score against.

Rochester, which recently captured its first OAA Red Division league title since 2007 in May, last reached the district finals nine years ago. That season the Falcons reached the Division 1 state semifinals before falling in a shootout to Troy.

The Falcons have enjoyed plenty of postseason success over the years, having to annually play in one of the state’s toughest districts – this year’s seven-team bracket featured seven teams that finished the regular season above five-hundred.

“It’s been a while since we reached the district finals. It’s never easy in our district,” added Steinard.

Besides Rochester reaching the state title game back in 2007 – the only other year the Falcons entered the postseason without a loss – the program has enjoyed several other deep postseason runs. Rochester lost in the regional finals in 1992, 2002, 2004 and 2016 and also stalled in the state semifinals in 1994, 1995 and 2013.


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