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GIRLS SOCCER: Defense, McDonald shines bright as DeWitt outlasts Goodrich in shootout


BY DAN STICKRADT

COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST | WEB AND CONTENT EDITOR | DIRECTOR OF NEWS

PH: (248) 884-1051

TW/X: @msn_stickradt @LocalSportsFans @MiSoccerNetwork


WATERFORD, Mich. – Shootouts in soccer are a time when goalkeepers have the green light to shine.


Madison McDonald had her time in the limelight Tuesday and the DeWitt junior stole the spotlight.


McDonald, an All-State Honorable Mention goalkeeper last season, saved Goodrich’s first two shooters in a penalty kick shootout and watched a third sail over the crossbar.


Meanwhile, DeWitt converted all three of its attempts and withstood constant pressure throughout 100 minutes of open play to record a 2-1 victory over Flint Metro League champion Goodrich in a Division 2 regional semifinals at Waterford Kettering High School.

Senior Norah Lutz, junior Cate Piesko and freshman Katelyn Jameson converted their penalties in succession for the Panthers, who have advanced to the regional finals for the first time since 2018 – a year they reached the Division 2 Final Four. DeWitt’s award is No. 12 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s which features one of state’s top players and vaunted offensive attacks.


DeWitt (12-4-6) will face St. Mary’s (17-2-1) at 6 p.m. Thursday in the regional championship match also at Waterford Kettering.


To get there, the DeWitt defense stepped up and time and time again goalkeeper Madison McDonald made clutch saves and commanded her box with authority.



“(The pressure) is more on the shooter, really both ways. You can’t expect the goalkeepers to save them all,” smiled McDonald. “I’m so grateful we have so many shooters we’ve worked on this in practice so many times about watching to see what way a shooter could go or how we make out (penalties). It all paid off. I saved a couple and out shots were all to the corners. It’s beautiful.”


In the state tournament, anything can happen, but DeWitt survived and advances.

“I’ve loved my teammates for so long and we play well together. We’ve wanted this so bad,” offered McDonald. “We played in a formation that we don’t normally play. But it was our effort and our teamwork that got us through it. It’s everyone’s effort that gets us through it.”


DeWitt has developed a reputation for boasting a stout defense with suburb goalkeeping and we’re able to showcase that tonight.


“Absolutely. Our defense is strong. I think one of the things this team has going for them is the team chemistry they have on and off the field. They trust each other, they respect each other, they know each other well (and) will be there to support them and they play together,” offered DeWitt coach Erika Clement. “And they have Madison behind them. Huge, huge kudos to our back line and our goalkeeper.”


DeWitt, which advanced out of its district with a 1-0 victory over St. Johns and have played in nine one-goal games and six ties, has learned how to battle in tight games.

 


“It’s not always fun. It’s nerve-wracking. I will say that tonight that it was a lot of heart to battle through two overtimes to get to the shootout We fought until we could get to that point and I’m really proud of them,” added Clement. “Goodrich is an incredible team. They gave us a battle for sure and they kept getting the ball down into our end. But we have (Madison and Carly working together and our other backs, most of them will still be back next year so we hopefully can have this group for another year.”


Goodrich (15-6-0), fresh off its third straight district title, outshot DeWitt 13-7 over 80 minutes of regulation and two full 10-minute overtime periods. The Martians continually flooded DeWitt’s defensive third of the field with runs, through balls, crosses and shots – and constant pressure – but could only convert one time in the first half. Goodrich also held an 8-4 advantage with shots on frame and even held a 5-0 edge on cornerkicks.


Each time down the stretch Goodrich’s high-powered offense was stymied. The Martians even outshot DeWitt 2-1 during the two overtime periods.


McDonald finished with seven saves leading up to the shootout for DeWitt, while she stepped up into the light and punched aside two shots in the shootout to help the Panthers prevail in the end. Senior Izzy Barlett, who signed with Aquinas College, finished her final prep game with three saves for Goodrich.


DeWitt scored on its first shot of the contest, as freshman Katelyn Jameson corralled a slotted pass through traffic from Piesko and blasted home her breakaway chance with 32:31 still to play in the first half.


Goodrich tied the game up with 24:19 still to go in the first half. Junior Lucy Rafferty got through to the right corner of the box and slipped a low cross through traffic over to junior Anna Perry, who booted home her 22nd goal of the season for the Martians.


Goodrich controlled play for most of the game but could not solve DeWitt’s stingy defense anchored by sophomores Carly Dennis and Julia Fowler, freshman Ava Hanus and senior Sarah Reynolds.


“Their defense is solid. They are well organized. They do very well defensively. We are still very young and we’ve been learning stuff (offensively) against good teams,” said Goodrich coach Josh Back. “(DeWitt’s) goalie is always off her line and always coming off her line and not standing on her line and giving us anything for free. The goalie is off her line, and they have a strong back line and they are really tough to score upon. But hats off to both teams. Both teams played very well, especially defensively. Both teams deserve to win but only one team gets to win and move along and unfortunately this was not our night.


“I’m proud of my team because we’ve won three straight districts now and we won our first league title in the Flint Metro (League) and had a great shot today,” continued Back. “We hope we can make it back next year and maybe take it a step further.”


(Have a story suggestion for the Premier Media Group and the Michigan Soccer Network regarding club soccer, high school varsity, amateur soccer, collegiate soccer or professional soccer of teams or players with Michigan ties, contact Communications Specialist/Web and Content Editor/Director of News Dan Stickradt via email at stickradt@michigansoccernetwork.com, or call 248-884-1051. Dan Stickradt is a 31-year veteran of the Michigan Media circles and recently joined the staff full time in March of 2024. Want to schedule a broadcast game or live show, contact PMG/MSN Director of Broadcasting Jonathan Turner for availability and pricing at jonathan@michigansoccernetwork.com.) 






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