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GIRLS SOCCER Eisenhower drives rare ‘Carr’ to net goal in key MAC-Red victory over Romeo



Twitter: @MiSoccerNetwork

WASHINGTON TWP., Mich. Something had to give.

In a tight match where scoring chances were few and far between, Utica Eisenhower picked up a goal from an unlikely source and the Division 1 12th-ranked Eagles held off Romeo 1-0 in a key Macomb Area Conference-Red Division contest at Romeo Barnabo Stadium.

Unable to penetrate the Bulldogs defense for more than 50 minutes, senior center back Hadley Carr was pushed up into the attack and she was able to score the game’s only goal with 28:02 remaining in the second half.

Carr was pushed up into the attack to help ignite some much-needed attack. She scooped up a loose ball some 40 yards out from the goal, beat a pair of defenders and uncorked a high banger with the wind behind the ball sailed above traffic and into the upper 90 of the goal on the right side.

That highlight-reel goal turned out to be the game’s sole tally in this defensive match.

“I looked at my assistant coach and said, ‘oh my, it’s going to go in or hit the crossbar’,” smiled veteran Eisenhower coach Mehrdad Nekoogar, whose team was missing several players Wednesday due to injuries. “We didn’t have a ton of chances but Hadley, we pushed her up and said if you have a chance shoot it. What a great goal.

“I don’t want to make excuses because we’re playing hard. But we have multiple girls out right now and some of them are out for the year,” continued Nekoogar, who lost two would-be starters the weekend before tryouts began in mid-March and a couple of others during April. “That has hurt us some with the chemistry and having to move kids around because we have so many girls out, it has changed the way we play. We were playing really well before the last couple of injuries.”

Romeo had multiple chances, most coming in the first half with the wind and sun at its backs. The snakebit Bulldogs couldn’t convert on four free kicks just out of the box and three corner kicks in the first half. Romeo (3-6-2, 2-2-1) was tied in second heading into the match but has struggled on the offensive end – and have now been outscored 15-12 this season through 11 matches.

Both teams traded off nine shots in the contest with Romeo holding a narrow 5-3 advantage with shots on frame. Eisenhower held the upper hand on cornerkicks at 4-3.


In her first season as a starter after playing behind two future college keepers last season, sophomore Molly Mellott made five saves on the night to record her team’s fifth shutout of the season. Although the Eagles defense didn’t allow too much pressure in the second half, Mellott had to make three saves in the second half in a span of around five minutes – two at point-blank range – and Eisenhower’s back four did the rest.

Eisenhower (7-1-1, 4-0-0) had now outscored its nine opponents 37-5 and stand alone atop the Macomb Area Conference-Red Division as the season approaches the mid-point.

“Winning the league is nice, but to be honest we don’t really care that much about it. Our focus is always try to play our best when districts come around. We’re in such a tough district against some really good programs and we haven’t been able to win a district in a few years. Last year we were up late on (Rochester) Stoney Creek in our first district game and they came back and tied it late and then beat us in a shootout. Stoney went on to win the state championship (a couple of weeks later). We want to go after and win a district this season, that’s our (ultimate) goal. We’ve watched a lot of these other teams around here win districts the last several years.”

Although the pre-districts are not until the end of May, there’s still plenty of time for Eisenhower and Romeo to improve. Eisenhower has six more league games and some non-league matches remaining, while Romeo has five league contests and a few non-leaguers left on the docket.

“We still have time,” reminded Nekoogar.

Last May on the final day of the league season, Eisenhower earned a 0-0 draw with Romeo to give the Eagles 23 points and the outright MAC-Red Division title. Romeo finished second with 21 points last season. But the Bulldogs had better luck finishing scoring chances last season.

Trying to ignite some offense – and more importantly – finishing opportunities has been the Bulldogs’ Achilles heal this season.  

“It’s pretty frustrating. We had pretty good chances as did they, but we’ve had better chances (against opponents) all season to score which is so crazy,” sighed Romeo coach Trevor Foster. “those were good chances and they weren’t our best this season. Kudos to their goalkeeper and their back line. Eisenhower played really well  and they are a good team obviously. I thought we were there with them the whole game. They score a wordly which went in. We have just have to figure out how to get on the other side of these 1-0 games. I don’t know what else to do. It’s finishing. Sometimes it doesn’t seem logical that a ball that size can’t fit into a net that big more than it does. We just have to somehow finish around the net better.

“That’s four one-goal losses, and we had a 0-0 tie in there, too,” continued Foster. “We’re in four one goal games which could be on the other side with four wins. We’re right there. You talk about Bloomfield Hills, awesome team. Clarkston, awesome team. (Ann Arbor) Skyline, awesome team, Eisenhower, awesome team. These are all one-goal games and we lost 1-0 with scoring chances. We’re right there and we have opportunities in those games. It’s just going to come down to those inches inside the box. We’re getting into the box and we’re creating opportunities. We’re just not finishing. Having our leading goal-scorer only having three goals at the mid-point of the season is not going to cut it. We have to find a way to start finishing.”

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