For anyone who’s concerned about it, we’re calling it an excused absence for Kaitlyn Rogala.
The senior missed Northville’s girls soccer match on April 23 at Grosse Pointe South.
She’s headed to the University of Michigan in the fall. So she used that weekend to visit the Upper Peninsula and meet her future college roommate, who lives in Menominee. There’s great kayaking up there.
So she missed a heck of a Saturday non-conference game.
Sylvia Bohlen scored to put the Mustangs ahead, and it looked like they were going to hold on for their sixth victory of the season. But, alas, the Blue Devils scored the equalizer with about 30 seconds left.
That’s understandable. South does play in the Macomb Area Conference-White, the second-toughest division of the MAC and one of the best soccer leagues on the east side of metro Detroit.
But Northville wasn’t happy about giving away the win and settling for the 1-1 tie.
The No. 1-ranked Mustangs (15-0-5) got their chance to right that wrong when they hosted South for Tuesday’s Division 1 regional semifinal.
Not only would a win avenge their earlier-season woes against the Blue Devils but it’d advance them to the regional championship, just two wins away from qualifying for next week’s state championship.
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Rogala couldn’t wait to finally play this tough South squad her friends had told her about in practice.
“I wasn’t there for that first game, but I heard about all the drama with it being tied 1-1 and it just being a really aggressive game with them,” she said. “I was curious coming into this game, like, let’s see how they (South) are.
“I came in and just couldn’t understand how we had tied them 1-1. I just couldn’t imagine it.”
It’s easy to see why Rogala’s perspective toward the Blue Devils is a bit biased.
The two squads battled for the opening 15 minutes, and then Rogala assisted Lauren Moraitis on a goal in the 17th minute. And then she assisted Bohlen on another one.
In fact, Jessica Belknap scored soon after, too, and then Grace Koski put one in as well.
In a matter of about 10 minutes, it was 4-0, Northville, and the match was almost entirely sewed up.
“We all had a lot of adrenaline after the first goal,” Bohlen said. Going into the game, we didn’t want to end our season. We all wanted to play for each other. After the last game (against South), we all had pretty high motivation because it wasn’t the best game. We didn ” t want to prove they could hold their own against us twice. “
Rogala scored an unassisted goal to open the second half, and then Reese Cassie put in another to ensure the Mustangs the eventual 6-0 victory.
It was a stark difference from the last time the teams met two months ago in Grosse Pointe.
“It took us a little bit, and we just had to get into a rhythm,” said Koski, who also recorded an assist. “Once we got started and got that first one in, we were all hyped up. We knew we had tied this team before, so it was just a lot of adrenaline with what was on the line. Once we got it going, we just went from there.
“That last game was on a Saturday, and we all drove out there, and our heads weren’t really in it that game. It was an unlucky tie, and they got that free kick in the last 30 seconds to tie it. This went much better for us. ”
Surprisingly, six different Mustangs scored.
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“We played really well against them, and we’ve really been working on finishing in the box and getting the ball to certain people around the net,” first-year coach Jeannine Reddy said. “I’m happy I was able to play everybody, which is something you don’t always get to do.”
The win sets up Northville with a regional championship matchup against Kensington Lakes Activities Association foe Belleville on Friday. With the way the East and West divisions are set up, the two teams did not meet on the pitch during the regular season, nor did they face each other when the Mustangs won the KLAA tournament.
Fortunately for Northville, Rogala said she does not plan on being in the Upper Peninsula for this one.
Brandon Folsom covers high school sports in metro Detroit for Hometown Life. Follow him on Twitter @folsombrandonj.