Notre Dame Prep wins program's first girls soccer title

By: Christian Davis | Rochester Post | Published June 18, 2016


EAST LANSING — Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Eileen Haig hadn’t been in this situation since she played goalie for her club team a couple years ago.

Yet here she was in the Division 2 state final June 18 against Forest Hills Northern getting her number called to go into the net for the shootout.

“I knew my team was behind me no matter what, and I just had to go in there and do the best that I could, and I did that,” Haig said.

The junior saved four of the Northern's eight shots. Prep’s Rosella LoChirco hit the back of the net for the clinching goal and the program’s first state title in a 2-1 sudden-death shootout victory.

Prep coach Jim Stachura said he put Haig in net, replacing Haley Williams, who made two saves on the day, because of her experience playing goalie at a high club level, believing she would be ready in the moment.

“I think it tenses the nerves a lot less than in some of the young ones that don’t get a chance to play at a high, high level in club (soccer),” Stachura said. “Sometimes, you just go with an instinct.”

Prep dominated possession in the game and outshot Northern 16-8, but it was the Huskies that struck first.

After a scoreless first half, Northern’s Natalie Belsito found the back of the net on an assist from Emily Ashby.

Northern held the lead into the final minute before it was called for a handball giving Prep a free shot from 18 yards away.

The Fighting Irish’s Payton Williams took advantage, curving her shot into the left side of the net with 41 seconds left in regulation to tie it 1-1.

“I saw that side open, so I just went for it,” Williams said.

It was her first goal of the season.

The squads then went without a goal in the two overtime periods before Haig was called into net.

“Honestly, I haven’t been in net in a couple years, but I’m good at jumping and guessing," Haig added with a laugh.

Prep finishes the season 21-1-3. Northern ends 16-4-4.