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October 23, 2013

Utica defeats unbeaten Troy Athens to win district title

Eisenhower loses in district semi-final

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Utica’s Matt Wilkie controls the ball during the Chieftains’ opening-round match against Warren Mott. Wilike scored a goal during Utica’s 5-1 win against Mott.

UTICA — Most were expecting Troy Athens to cruise to a district title, given how dominant Athens was in the regular season, compiling a 20-0 record while trailing an opponent once this year. But that was in the past, and the Chieftains were only concerned with the present.

Utica defeated Athens 3-2 in overtime as Ryan Bankstahl netted the game-winner off of a free kick with just more than seven minutes remaining in the second overtime session.

After falling behind 1-0, Utica’s Noah Brenizer tied the contest off of a free kick. Matt Wilkie gave Utica a 2-1 lead 17 minutes before halftime, but Athens would score before intermission, and the score would remain the same until Bankstahl’s winner in overtime.

Utica moves on to play in the Grosse Pointe North regional on Oct. 22. The Chieftains (16-5-3) will play Macomb Dakota (17-1-2) at 5 p.m. in a regional semi-final.

After a 3-0 victory against Stoney Creek in the district opener, Eisenhower fell to Rochester Adams 2-1 after two overtimes and penalty kicks.

Eisenhower will be losing 14 seniors from this year’s team. They are Brandon Brundirks, Dru Wennechuk, Olaf Szemraj, Tyler Olson, Marco DiBenedetto, Steve Lowe, Giuseppe Palazzolo, Josh Gira, Curtis Bunger, Tyler Lewalski, Luke Pryg, Greg Ognjanovski, Grant Harrison and Wes Ho.

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