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May 29, 2014

Grosse Pointe South defeats Grosse Pointe North in soccer district semifinal

Dani Manning nets a hat trick to lead South

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

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Grosse Pointe South's Dani Manning and Grosse Pointe North's Lexi Ciaramitaro attempt to gain possession.

Grosse Pointe South used a hat trick from Dani Manning to defeat Grosse Pointe North 3-1 in a Division 1 district semifinal game at Lakeview High School on Thursday night.

Manning's first goal came on a penalty kick with 26:04 left in the first half. A foul was called on North after a corner kick to set up the penalty try for South.

North tied it up six minutes later, as senior Katelyn Kohler corralled a loose ball off of a throw-in deep in South territory. Kohler was positioned on the far post from the throw in, and after the ball came free from a cluster in front of the South net, she was able to kick it into an open net.

The tie would last just more than two minutes, as Manning scored her second goal with 18:01 left in the half.

Manning would cap off her night just moments into the second half, as she put South up 3-1 with 39:18 to go. The two sides exchanged scoring opportunities from there, but South's defense stood strong against North's offensive attack.

South has battled injuries for most of the season, but head coach Gene Harkins said that his team his getting healthy at the right time.

"We've got our people healthy. We have everyone back, and I thought that we played one of our better games this year. We played very well," Harkins said.

North closed its season at 5-17-2. North coach Skipper Mukhtar said that depsite the loss, he was very pleased with the development of his team throughout the season.

"We've gotten better as the season as gone on, for sure," Mukhtar said. "The improvement has been great. I think this is the most I've seen one team improve from the beginning to the end of the season, and a lot of that was due to the senior leadership being phenomenal."

South (10-5-5) advances to play Detroit Western in a district final at Lakeview on May 31 at 1 p.m.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Thomas Franz at tfranz@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040.