The players, coaches and fans of the Skyline soccer team all know the score – two more to go. The Eagles defeated Dearborn High 2-0 on a chilly Thursday night in a Division 1 Regional Soccer Final at Dearborn Edsel Ford to advance to the state semifinals. “Two more to go” was certainly the mantra as the Eagles gathered for a team photo with their Regional trophy.
A team as talented, experienced and proud as Skyline entered the season with really only one goal – win the whole thing. And what started in August is close to the finish line with just two more games left to complete the goal of winning the whole thing.
“I liked that we scored two goals off set pieces,” said Skyline Coach Chris Morgan of his team’s win over Dearborn. “It was another clean sheet for us and our goalie, Kyri, did another great job for us including an awesome save towards the end of the game. It’s just a great feeling.”
Dearborn finished the season with a District title and an impressive 19-4-2 record.
“I thought our game plan for Skyline was set up pretty well,” said Dearborn Coach Aaron Pfeil. “I thought early on we looked a little nervous. Being on a big stage like this, they were able to capitalize on two loose balls in the box. We know they are dangerous on set pieces and we prepared for them but we just weren’t able to stop them.”
The Eagles, who defeated Canton 1-0 in Tuesday’s regional semifinal game and knocked off Saline in a District final, have not allowed a goal in the postseason. Dearborn reached the finals by defeating Temperance Bedford 2-1 in Tuesday’s first semifinal game.
Skyline advances to Wednesday’s Division 1 semifinal game at Troy against the winner of the Utica Eisenhower-Warren De La Salle game which we be played on Saturday.
“We will get a good look at them,” Morgan said. “I’ve looked at scores and we’ve had some common opponents and I’ve talked to some of those coaches. But I will see them play for the first time on Saturday.”
On the other side of the bracket, Grand Blanc defeated Detroit Catholic Central 2-1 and will play East Kentwood, who defeated Holt 1-0.
The state finals are Saturday, Nov. 3 at either Comstock Park or Novi High School.
Morgan actually welcomes the six days off before his team takes the field next at Troy High School.
“We are a little beat up with some bumps and bruises so we can use the time to heal up a little bit,” he said. “Oscar (Shiomi-Jensen) took a blow to the face tonight and we’re hoping he can play on Wednesday. The other guys who have been out won’t be back.”
Missing some key players hasn’t slowed down the Eagles, whose great depth is paying off as players have stepped onto the field and filled some pretty big shoes.
After a few minutes of playing back and forth in the midfield to start the game, Skyline created some pressure after a great pass off the foot of Bryce Schaner to Chris Emerson, who was taken down just outside the box. But the Pioneers defended the direct kick and kept the Eagles off the board.
Another great individual effort created Skyline’s next scoring chance. Gabe Kellman beat a few defenders forcing a corner kick. This time, the Eagles capitalized as Marco Althoen was unmarked and headed the ball into the opposite corner of the net to make it 1-0 with 28:53 left in the first half.
Dearborn keeper Jacob Lambert had no chance on the header.
At the 22:42 mark, Skyline pushed the lead to 2-0. After a throw-in from deep inside Dearborn territory, a Skyline player headed the ball and Zack Kubisiak one-timed a low shot to the far post that beat Lambert.
Dearborn did make a few runs in the first half but never really tested Wixom, Skylne’s outstanding senior goalie, until the final seconds. With less than a minute on the clock, Dearborn turned pressure into an excellent scoring opportunity but Wixom dove to his left to make the save and keep the Pioneers off the scoreboard.
The Pioneers came out much stronger in the second half and created some good pressure against the Eagles. With 33:21 left in the second half, Peregrine Neubert was taken down just outside the box giving the Pioneers one of their best scoring chances of the game. But the Skyline wall did the job by deflecting the direct kick out of bounds.