Utica High defeats Fraser High in soccer district opener
Chieftans avenge two regular season losses to Ramblers
By Thomas Franz
Posted May 27, 2014
After being delayed twice by lightning, Utica High defeated Fraser 2-1 in an opening round Division 1 district game held at Fraser on Tuesday night.
The start to the game was delayed an hour due to storms in the area, but as the clouds momentarily parted, the Chieftains set the tone.
Utica opened the game scoring 11 minutes in, as sophomore Valentina Giambanco hit the top left corner of the net from 25 yards away.
Fraser tied the game with 10:28 left in the first half, as Liz Girard scored a goal that was assisted by Riley McCleese. Girard's shot was partially blocked by the outstretched hands of the Utica keeper, but the shot had enough steam to cross inside the far post.
Utica retook the lead just less than 13 minutes into the second half when Madeleine Motloch scored off a corner kick. Motloch was able to gain possession of the ball in a cluster about 10 yards away from the net and was able to get enough on a shot to power through Fraser's defense.
"It feels good," Utica coach Dave Moran said. "Today we cleaned up some of those mistakes we were making in the regular season and we finished the opportunities we had."
Lightning struck again with 24:55 remaining. Following the 30-minute delay, it appeared the break allowed Fraser a chance to regroup, but Utica's defense stood tall in the game's closing stages.
"You know they're going to come at you like an army coming downhill at you, but we just had to persevere and we did," Moran said of facing Fraser after the second delay.
With the win, Utica avenged two regular-season losses to Fraser. Ramblers' coach Thaier Mukhtar said that it would be very difficult to beat Utica for the third time this season.
"That's why I said we would like to play somebody else. They, definitely, had the revenge factor going, and they played very hard. You have to give them credit," Mukhtar said. "We fought hard. I thought we had our chances, but when we got around the box, we just didn't do the right things, and I think that was the difference in the game."
Fraser closes the year at 12-8-2. Utica (8-8-2) will play Warren Mott at Fraser on May 29 at 4 p.m. in a district semifinal.
About the author
Staff Writer Thomas Franz covers Macomb Township, Chippewa Valley Schools and the Macomb County Board of Commissioners for the Macomb Township Chronicle. He also covers sports primarily for the Shelby-Utica News. He has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2013 and attended Michigan State University.
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