Fraser, MI – ’s defensive performance on Tuesday in the Division 1 soccer regional semifinals at Fraser High School was impressive from any vantage point.
Colts forward Irene Young watched her teammates up close on the field and called it “the best defensive performance all year.”
Watching it from the sidelines, Troy coach Brian Zawislak agreed.
He said his backline made all the right decisions in a 2-0 win over Anchor Bay (17-4-1) and were simply “outstanding.”
“This team has a lot of veterans on it; they understand what it takes to win a championship and what it takes is solid defending,” he said. “They’ve really focused on that the last 10 games or so. We worked on our shape in the backfield and making good decisions.”
The Tars’ scoring opportunities were far and few between. When they did get the ball down field, which was a very rare occurrence, they weren’t able to get an open look at the net.
“We couldn’t penetrate their back four and get the numbers up that we wanted to,” Anchor Bay coach Kevin Grammens said.
He moved a third forward up top in the second half top to try to create more pressure, but it didn’t make a noticeable difference. Grammens said there just weren’t any gaps in the Colts backfield.
“I knew we wouldn’t get a lot, I was just hoping for one or two opportunities,” Grammens said. “Nothing to be ashamed of, I don’t think we left anything on the field.”
While Troy (17-2-3) dictated the pace of the game, the score remained close because of a tremendous performance in net from Tars goalie Emily Wyszczelski.
In the first 10 minutes alone, she made two diving saves on hard hit shots from Young. Both would’ve been goals had Wyszczelski not been able to get a hand on them.
“In the first half, she kept us in it, she made some big saves coming back to her left side,” Grammens said.
The Colts finally broke through on a corner kick at the 24:51 mark. Jennifer Busk centered the ball beautifully for freshman Sarah Troccoli, who knocked it in over a defender with a header.
“Sarah Troccoli did a good job climbing, keeping it alive and putting it in the back of the net,” Zawislak said. “And it was a great service from Jennifer Busk.”
Young had two other near misses before adding an insurance goal in the second half with less than 20 minutes to go in the game.
Erin Wrubel passed the ball to Young in the middle of the field, 30 yards from the goal. Young worked it past a defender and quickly turned on it, putting the ball between the crossbar and Wyszczelski’s outstretched hand.
“I was one-one-one, and I faked to my right, hit it with my left since that’s my strong side,” Young said. “I wasn’t sure if it was going to go in, but I definitely hit it hard enough.”
Troy advances to the regional finals on Friday at 6:30 p.m. for a game against the winner of Farmington Mercy and Grosse Pointe South. The game will again be played at Fraser High School.