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Saugatuck girls’ soccer appears in first district title game

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By Jason Wesseldyk

Sports Editor

COVERT—Having dropped a 5-0 decision to Hartford during the regular season, the Saugatuck girls’ soccer team wanted another shot at their SAC rivals.

Saugatuck got that shot Division 4 district semifinal on Thursday, June 1, and made the most of it.

With the score deadlocked at 1-1, Erin Stannis found the back of the net on a penalty kick with less than 30 seconds to play, giving Saugatuck the 2-1 win in dramatic fashion.

The win secured Saugatuck’s first appearance in a district final. And while his team lost that game to Black River 6-0 on Saturday, June 3, Saugatuck coach Jordan Campbell had nothing but praise for his team and the way it ended the season.

“We lost to Hartford 5-0 about a month ago, but felt that they were a team we could beat if we played well,” he said. “So we were excited to see the district draw when it came out. As a team, we felt this was a great opportunity for us to prove how much we’ve grown over the course of the season and advance to the program’s first ever district final.”

Delaney Dewey-Harney scored the first Saugatuck goal against Hartford, with the assist going to Maddie Moore.

“You could tell how confident our girls were,” Campbell said. “We looked at the film from the first game the day before and knew how we wanted to approach them this time around. Besides a few minutes at the beginning of the second half, we did everything we wanted to in that game.

“We were also super excited for Erin, who stepped up and made that final penalty kick under a lot of pressure. Winning that game was probably the highest moment we’ve had as a girls’ soccer program.”

The loss to Black River in the district final ended the prep careers for seniors Marin Yarde, Michelle Malkowski and Tori Kunkel.

“We knew Black River was going to be a different challenge for us,” Campbell said. “They are an experienced and technically sound team. I really felt we had the right mindset and energy going into the game, it just took us a few minutes to find our feet and by then we were already down two. We had some chances to get one back after that, but that’s a tough team to overcome a poor start against.

“While the district final didn’t go our way and the score wasn’t what we were hoping it would be, I don’t think any of our girls felt they could have put more into that game. The only thing we’re disappointed in is we won’t be practicing anymore as a team.  All year long I’ve been impressed by the togetherness and positive outlook that this team had. Each of these girls played soccer this year for the right reasons, and I’m excited to see what the future holds. We’ll miss our seniors, but they’re leaving the program in the right place.”

In the win over Covert, Dewey-Harney and Moore each scored twice. Casey Alexander and Claire Stannis added one goal each, with Alexander also assisting on two goals.