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October 25, 2012

Grosse Ile scores two late goals, eliminates Country Day from D-3 soccer playoffs

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Country Day's Apostolos Apostolou (5) battles with a Lumen Christi player during a D-3 regional semifinal. The Yellowjackets were ousted from the tournament Thursday night in a 3-1 loss to Grosse Ile.

FARMINGTON HILLS — One came very, very early.

The third was relatively late, and on summer-like evening at Farmington Hills Harrison, the defending Division 3 soccer state champions had their fall season come to a close.

Grosse Ile High scored less than a minute into the first half of Thursday night’s D-3 regional final against Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day and then secured a 3-1 win on a chip shot with just 6:48 remaining in regulation.

Senior Tim Beach got the game going in a flash, converting 25 seconds into the game to give the Red Devils a 1-0 advantage.

“I literally turned around to set some of my stuff down (on the sideline), we got four quick passes and it was in,” Grosse Ile coach Adam Kuhn said of the first goal. “We stressed the first two minutes of setting a tone, and that’s what the guys did.”

But as he has all year, Country Day senior Brenton Desai rallied his squad, notching the equalizer with 18:33 remaining in the first half. Desai had two goals in a 3-1 regional semifinal win against Jackson Lumen Christi.

The teams battled back and forth the rest of the night, but after a collision in the Country Day zone, Grosse Ile was awarded a penalty kick and junior Alex Masserant buried his shot in the back, left corner for a 2-1 lead.

Country Day generated a chance or two the rest of the night, but then got caught in its defensive zone and allowed the dagger, a goal by Jeff Drzyzga with less than seven minutes remaining.

“They were bigger, stronger and more aggressive than us,” said Country Day coach Bob Bukari, whose team beat Grosse Ile 4-2 in a regional final last year. “There was some rough play out there, and I think it intimidated our younger guys a bit. But that’s part of the game.”

Asked if the first goal set his team back at all, Bukari said simply, “Oh yeah.”

“It puts that doubt in your mind right away,” he added. “You start to think it’s not your night, but we battled back.”

Grosse Ile, which beat Almont High in the regional semifinal, improves to 19-4-2 and moves on to an Oct. 31 semifinal at Midland High.

Country Day, which had just three players on its roster that were part of the 2011 state title, wrapped up the season 15-8-3.

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