GROSSE POINTES — The week of Sept. 16 proved to be an exciting one in Grosse Pointe sports.
In a scheduling quirk, Grosse Pointe North and South faced each other in four sports in a span of three days. The two schools played to a draw, with each side taking two events.
On Military Night at Grosse Pointe South, the Blue Devils defeated North 2-1. After a scoreless first half, Daniel Bukacel opened the scoring eight minutes after halftime by capitalizing on a rebound opportunity in front of the North keeper.
South’s Ian Sutherland redirected a free kick to give the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead with just less than 12 minutes remaining. Junior midfielder Cameron Kotas sent the ball into the box, and Sutherland was able to redirect the free kick with the back of his heel into the opposite corner of the net.
“That was a great play by Ian Sutherland. It was a great back heel by Ian and great awareness. That’s what we need, and we’ve put together a couple wins now; this is a big win for us. They (North) always play hard against us, so this is a good win for our team,” South coach Stefan Harris said.
North junior Don Robertson cut South’s lead in half with six minutes to go when he headed in a free kick. The Norsemen tried to complete the comeback, but South keeper Murray Sales made two clutch saves in the final five minutes to seal the victory for the Blue Devils.
“I like this game. Coming from the area, I love playing this game, but I don’t, because you basically throw both playbooks out. You throw your schemes out, because it’s just a slug fest,” Harris said. “These kids all know each other. No matter who’s in the standings, no matter where we are or where North is, it’s going to be a close game like this.”
North will continue its MAC White schedule with a Sept. 27 home game against Cousino; South will host division-leading Fraser the same evening.
Swimming and diving
At Grosse Pointe South, the Blue Devils earned a 128-58 victory against North.
Winners for South included Gabby DeLoof, Jennifer Vermet Alex Hughes and Carly Hampton in the 200-yard medley relay (1:58.3); Abby Schuetze in the 200 freestyle (2:11.75); Anne Crowley in the 200 IM (2:22.94); Catie Deloof in the 50 freestyle (25.1); Anne Crowley in the 100 butterfly (1:01.23); Mackenzie Stapleton in the 500 freestyle (5:50.82); Gabby DeLoof in the 100 freestyle (0:53.05) and 100 breaststroke (1:07.35); Claire Young, Olivia Frederickson, Abbey Schuetze and Anne Crowley in the 200 freestyle relay (1:47.07); and Claire Young, Alex Hughes, Olivia Frederickson and Kathleen Vern in the 400 freestyle relay (4:01.18).
Winners for North were Isabelle Nguyen in the 1-meter diving and Julie Gehlert in the 100 backstroke (1:06.13).
On Sept. 17 at University Liggett as part of the Block Out Cancer event, North defeated South in straight games, 25-12, 25-12, 25-15. Junior Christa Raicevich led the way for North with five aces and eight kills, and Maddy Bessert contributed 12 kills. Sophomore Erin Armbruster added six kills for the Norsemen, who moved to 12-10-5 on the season.
“Our serving is huge. We’re starting to serve tougher, and we’re really trying to focus on that,” North coach Kim Lockhart said.
North has only one senior on its roster this season, and Lockhart explained that many of the girls have improved greatly since the start of the season.
“We’ve really played some tough teams, but they’ve been close games that we’ve lost. We’re just a little bit inconsistent and we’re young, but we’re starting to improve,” Lockhart said. “We have good chemistry and the girls are having fun playing, and I think we’re improving on a lot of things because we definitely had a lot to work on at the beginning of the year.”
North will host Marysville on Sept. 26; South will host Sterling Heights Stevenson that same night.
At Grosse Pointe North on Sept. 19, the Norsemen earned their first win of the season by defeating South 1-0.
Sophomore Jennifer Kusch scored the lone goal of the contest with 18 seconds left before halftime, but the key play of the game came with 21 minutes left in the second half.
South had possession in front of the North net and took a shot to tie, but North defender Carmen Thomas blocked the shot with the side of her stick. The save gave South a penalty shot.
Francesca Aliotta took the penalty shot for South, but her effort to the top-left corner of the net was blocked by Marissa Stinson, and North held on from there to get its first win.
“I was just reading the stick and seeing where she was opening up to, and I knew she was going to my right side, which is my weak side with my stick,” Stinson said. “I was just thinking, I have to put my whole body there and hope for the best. Strokes are probably the hardest things to save, but I’m really fortunate and very happy I got it.”
Up next, North will travel to Forest Hills on Sept. 28 while South will visit Saline on Sept. 30.
In other local sports news:
Football fans will have to wait a few more weeks for the annual North-South game. The teams will square off at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at South.