Ford II boys soccer team takes down Birmingham Groves in regional final, falls in state semi
The Utica Ford II boys soccer team made what even some of its own players called a “surprising” run to a Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 regional title.
That run ended with a 2-0 loss to Grand Blanc in a D-1 state semifinal, played Oct. 31 in Lake Orion.
The Falcons’ run to a regional title was impressive; they did not allow a single goal in five games, outscoring opponents 7-0.
“We weren’t even supposed to be here, now we’re regional champs,” said Falcons junior midfielder Costa Wells, who netted the district and regional title-winning goals for Ford II.
The Falcons (12-7-5) knocked off Birmingham Groves 1-0 Oct. 26 at Fraser High to take the D-1 regional crown.
Wells got a pass from senior midfielder/ defender Drew Niewoit that he netted at 27:39 of the first half for the only score of the match.
“(Niewoit) actually took the ball from a defender and hit me with a pass right through the middle,” said Wells, whose second-half goal Oct. 19 against Warren De La Salle gave Ford II a D-1 district title in a 1-0 victory. “It was a breakaway from there, and all I had to do was slide it into the net.”
The Falcons went into the state semi on a 6-0-1 streak dating back to their final two regular-season contests.
“When this journey started back in preseason, the kids joked with me and said, ‘We’re going to states,’” Falcons coach Teri Steinwascher said, following the Oct. 26 regional final triumph. “I kept telling them to win more games than we did last year. Who would’ve thought? It’s been on them and their attitudes this whole ride.”
Steinwascher called both of Wells’ goals “brilliant.” She added that her defense and goalkeeping have been stellar during the run.
“Kyle Kline has been great,” said Steinwascher, acknowledging her goalkeeper, who hadn’t allowed a goal in the postseason to that point. “They stayed cool and calm, and now they’re regional champs.”
Groves (12-6-8) had its chances in the second half of the regional final. A shot by Groves junior Iain Mason with 17:13 to play went just wide of the net.
Kline also made a leaping, one-handed save to stop a shot near the crossbar with 14:15 left to preserve the lead.
“You just have to react to shots like that, and that’s what I did,” Kline said.
On its run to the D-1 state semis, the Falcons won four 1-0 contests.
For more information on the MHSAA state soccer playoffs, check www.mhsaa.com.