Warren Regina soccer players and coaches celebrate with their regional title trophy after the team's 1-0 June 7 win over Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day in a Division 3 regional final.

Warren Regina soccer players and coaches celebrate with their regional title trophy after the team's 1-0 June 7 win over Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day in a Division 3 regional final.

Photo by Jason Carmel Davis


Regina soccer wins D-3 regional title

Key goal, strong defense lead Saddlelites to win

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published June 7, 2018

 Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day's Elle Hartje looks to make a play in a June 7 Division 3 regional final against Warren Regina.

Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day's Elle Hartje looks to make a play in a June 7 Division 3 regional final against Warren Regina.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

BEVERLY HILLS — The Warren Regina girls soccer team is making a habit of coming up with clutch goals this season.

After winning a Division 3 district final and regional semifinal 1-0, the Saddlelites got a first-half goal from junior Chloe Scott that would be the score to send the team to the state semifinals.

Scott’s goal, along with solid defense and strong goalkeeping from senior Cecelia Muskovac, pushed Regina to a 1-0 June 7 win over Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day in a regional final. It’s the program’s first regional title since winning a D-2 regional in 2005.

“I know we have a relatively young team, but I expected us to have success,” said Saddlelites coach Stefano Moraccini, who is in his second year leading the program. “I always expect the girls to work hard every day and come into every game prepared. If they do that, good things will happen. That’s why we’re where we are right now.”

The Saddlelites (15-6 overall, at press time) advance to take on Flint Powers Catholic in a D-3 state semifinal set for 6 p.m. June 13 at Parker Middle School in Howell. The D-3 title game is slated for 1 p.m. June 16 at Williamston High.

After neither team generated a scoring chance for the first 30 minutes of action, Scott gathered the ball in the open field deep in Country Day (18-5) territory and nailed a kick from 20 yards out that found the back of the right side of the net to put the Saddlelites up 1-0 with 8:55 left in the half.

“I hit the post on a shot right before that so I had to redeem myself,” Scott said. “I saw the goalie was out of the net so I just tapped it in.”

Country Day coach Laura Hamway said Regina’s pressure led to a number of her players being out of position on the goal.

Muskovac wasn’t tested often, but made a huge diving save with 16:19 left in the second half to preserve the lead. Regina through regionals did not allow a goal in four playoff games. Country Day entered the regional final having scored 18 goals in four games.

“As a goaltender, it’s all about communication. Our team is really organized and that helps me out,” said Muskovac, who will play at the University of Detroit Mercy next year. “This is really big for our school and our program. We’re trying to make history.”

Moraccini said that coming into the game, the plan was to key on Yellow Jackets juniors Kennedy Bearden and Elle Hartje, who proved to be strong offensive players for the team. Bearden this season notched 40 goals.

“(Bearden) will go down in the MHSAA record books with the season she had and (Hartje) is strong,” Hamway said. “They shut them down. Credit to Regina for having the game plan they did.”

The Saddlelites last played in a regional final in 2015. The Yellow Jackets last won a regional championship in 2015 when the team got all the way to the D-3 title game. Regina in a regional semifinal beat Grosse Ile High 1-0 June 5. Country Day knocked off Macomb Lutheran North 3-1 June 5.

“This is amazing,” Scott said. “We’re a pretty young team so we’re going to continue to grow and keep trying to get better.”

Regina has five players it will lose to graduation and 16 who are eligible to return next season. Country Day got to the regional final with no seniors on its roster, meaning all 22 players could return next season.

“We’re a young team, so I think we’re just going to keep working hard and trying to get better,” Scott said.

“We didn’t expect to make a run like this especially with 13 freshman,” Hamway said. “Then we started playing well and doing the things more veterans teams would do. Everybody is going to be back.”