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June 9, 2014

Country Day and Marian soccer teams advance; Bloomfield Hills baseball, Seaholm softball wrap up seasons

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Country Day’s Sonja Niederhofer, left, pushes the ball past a Grosse Ile defender during a 4-0 win in the regional semifinal. Country Day won its first regional title since 2011 with a 1-0 victory against Flint Powers Catholic.

FARMINGTON HILLS — On paper, Bob Bukari saw his team as the underdog.

On the field, he watched as Flint Powers Catholic attacked from all angles, controlled the ball, controlled the flow, controlled just about every aspect of last week’s Division 3 regional final.

Except the scoreboard.

And at this point in the season, well, that’s all that really matters.

“As I’m sitting here now talking, I don’t know how we won,” Bukari said with a laugh after his Country Day soccer team snuck past Flint Powers 1-0. “It was great heart, great effort and great goaltending by our girls. We had just about everything going against us, but we found a way.”

Such is the beauty of the postseason.

“For this group, especially the seniors, there were a lot of tears tonight,” Bukari said. “There were a lot of happy people after so many heartbreaks the past few years.”

Jenna Staudt scored the game’s only goal early in the first half, heading in a corner kick.

From there, goaltender Isabel Nino took over.

“She was brilliant,” Bukari said. “We could have lost 10-1 without her.”

Flint Powers (18-1-2) was the favorite coming in and dominated play after Country Day took the lead.

“They had the wind at their back, and they controlled the whole second half,” Bukari said. “We had some great shots blocked. We defended so well. We just fought and found a way.”

Country Day, now 23-3-3, moves on to the state semifinals for the first time since 2011.

The girls are set to face Freeland High in a 6:30 p.m. June 11 match at Ortonville-Brandon.

“We’re going to have to do a lot of the same things that got us to this point,” Bukari said of his team’s approach against Freeland. “At the same time, we played a very defensive game (in the regional final). I think now we have to be on the attack more.”

The D-3 final is set for noon June 14 at Mason High.

Marian marching
In D-2 regional action, Bloomfield Hills Marian also punched its ticket to the semifinals, beating Lapeer West 3-0 in a June 7 regional final.

“It’s a very exciting accomplishment for our team and program,” coach Barry Brodsky said. “It never gets old. To get to the final four is something you have to love.”

The game was much closer than the final score indicates.

Marian (18-0-1) led 1-0 with roughly seven minutes to play in regulation.

“Lapeer is a very young team, like us, but I think we had just enough of a veteran presence to make a difference,” Brodsky said. “Down 1-0, they had to push at the end, and we found a way to take advantage of it.”

The Mustangs, who lost in last year’s state final after winning a state title in 2012, are set to face Livonia Ladywood at 6 p.m. June 11 in a semifinal at Fenton High.

Marian is 2-0 against Ladywood this spring.

“They are a very tough team that knows us well, and we know well,” Brodsky said. “I guess we can’t buy into that theory about how tough it is to beat a team a third time. We feel if we do some things well, we’re a team that can keep this going.”

The D-2 final is at 3 p.m. June 14 at Williamston High.

In other local playoff action
The Bloomfield Hills High baseball team had its inaugural season come to a close in a 4-1 loss to Clarkston High in a D-1 regional semifinal played June 7.

The Black Hawks close out the 2014 campaign with a 24-7 final record.

In softball action, Birmingham Seaholm fell to Farmington Hills Mercy 11-0 in a D-1 regional semifinal at Novi High.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.