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GIRLS SOCCER Trenton claims third straight Downriver League title, ready for postseason



Twitter: @MiSoccerNetwork

TRENTON, Mich. – Dearborn Edsel Ford accomplished something that no other team inside the Downriver League has been able to do in over two seasons – score upon Trenton’s stout defensive back line.

That didn’t matter.

The goal came with 15 seconds left in the second half Wednesday and the host Trojans already had two goals up on the scoreboard, where Trenton eventually registered a 2-1 victory over the Thunderbirds.

The win gave the Trojans the Downriver League tournament championship and finished up a perfect season inside the 10-school Downriver League, where Trenton captured its third overall title and fifth in six years.

“They were pumped to score on us. But it came with 15 seconds left and that spoiled our shutout,” laughed veteran Trenton coach Michael Hatfield.

Not just spoil the shutout, but Edsel Ford became the first team in the league regular season or conference tournament to score on the Trojans since 2022. The last school to score on Trenton in DL play was Woodhaven on May 18, 2022 – a 3-1 Trenton win in the Downriver League tournament finals.

“We went something like two-and-a-half seasons without giving up a goal in the league. That’s amazing and we were only seconds away from not allowing one league goal all season until Edsel Ford scored on a cornerkick,” added Hatfield. “Other than that, we have been dominant in our league.”

Trenton finished 9-0-0 in the regular season and 2-0 in the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed. Overall this season, the Trojans outscored their Downriver League foes 49-1 after allowing no goals in the league last year (43-0) and just four in 2022 (52-4).

Spanning three seasons of conference and conference tournament play, Trenton owns an impressive 144-5 scoring edge against league foes excluding any district games.

The back line has risen to the occasion more often than not, led by fourth-year starting goalkeeper Leila Gorno, who notched her 13th shutout of the season on May 13 in a 2-0 victory over Woodhaven in the conference tournament semifinals. Over the last two decades, it has been Trenton and Woodhaven annually fighting for the top spot in the Downriver League with the likes of Dearborn Edsel Ford and Allen Park occasionally providing a threat.

Gorno has moved into the top-20 all-time on the state leaderboard for career shutouts with 42 clean sheets. Seniors Miya Severino and Kira Johnson, junior Lilly Mulford and freshman Elle Dolson have been the mainstays on the back line that has allowed only 15 goals all season and posted a 0.75 teams goals-against-average for the 13-5-2 Trojans.

“We’ve won three league titles in a row – outright,” said Hatfield. “I know we’ve won a bunch over the years or placed second several times, normally to Woodhaven. But we beat Woodhaven twice this year and we swept them I think three years in a row.”

In the conference tournament finals Wednesday, Claire Gonyea, an All-State Dream Team candidate, scored her team-leading 24th goal of the season which puts her above 75 goals in her stellar career. The NCAA Division I Eastern Michigan University-bound senior forward/midfielder has 76 goals and 49 assists in her career entering next week’s Division 2 pre-districts against Monroe Jefferson/Erie Mason Unified.

Junior Kate Haverman added a goal and an assiss, as she came back recently from an injury and is rounding back into form. Junior Chloe Wishart added the other assist for Trenton, as the midfielder missed most of last season with an injury but has 14 goals and 12 assists on the pitch this season and starting to pop up on the radars for some Division I and Division II college programs.

Gonyea (All-State First Team last season), Wishart and Haveman (All-State Honorable Mention last year) gives Trenton three top-tier offensive players.

“Anytime you have three goals scorers on your team, it helps take you to another level. We’re blessed to have that,” said Hatfield. “We’re hoping that they can help lead us to another district championship this year. (New Boston) Huron is the No. 1 seed and we’re the No. 2 seed, so barring any upsets we’ll see them in the district finals in a couple of weeks. Teams will have to mark up all three of those girls in order to stop us.”

Overall, Trenton holds a 58-15 scoring edge this season. Hatfield went out and scheduled some tough non-league games and entered the Trojans into two tough Saturday tournaments against quality competition.

Although Trenton is 1-4-2 against schools that have been ranked in Division 1, Division 2 or Division 3 at different points this season, many of the school’s opponents this season have been against Division 1 teams. The Trojans are 3-3-0 in their final six games of the regular season — all against D-1 schools.

Trenton dropped games to Division 1 state-ranked Ann Arbor Skyline (No. 2) and defending Division 1 state champion Rochester Stoney Creek (No. 15), dropped a non-league game to rising D-1 opponent Ann Arbor Pioneer and lost a pair of games in shootouts to DeWitt and Marshall back in April at the Marshall Sportsfest DeWitt and both of those teams have spent time in the Division 2 top-15 along with Trenton, which dropped from the rankings this week.

Trenton advanced to the Division 2 regional finals last season after winning the Downriver League and district titles as part of a 15-3-2 season. The non-conference schedule this season has been substantially tougher this year as compared to the past decade.

“We did that on purpose. That’s tournament preparation,” noted Hatfield. “We need to play teams that are better than us that have much bigger enrollments to help get us ready for the state tournament. It’s okay that we lost or tied some games in those weekend tournaments or in non-league games. Those games will only help us. We get to play schools better or larger than us, or teams that are even with us. We get to see how we react in certain situations and how we match up. We don’t always get that same competition in some of our league games. If we can make a run this year, we’ll see some really good teams late in the tournament. Remember last year we lost to Grosse Pointe North and had some goals called back – and they went on to win the state championship.”

Sophomore Sabrina Gaul (F), senior Erin Soules (F) and sophomore Audrey Hamilton (M) were returning starters and effective on the pitch in their own right. Junior Victoria Siegan (D), sophomore Amaya Deol (D) and freshmen Bryann Zawislak (M) and Kaylee Worrell (M) have seen ample time on this deep and talented roster.

“We have a lot of quality players and we have some depth,” reminded Troccoli. “We’ve had a few girls miss a game here and there with injuries and we’ve been able to slide some other girls into the lineup without missing a beat. I couldn’t be prouder of this team for how’ve they’ve played all season. We’re 10-1-3 and our only loss was a great game against (top-ranked) Hudsonville (2-1). They have 14 seniors and we were right there with them.”

Troy will compete in the Birmingham Seaholm-hosted Division 1 district over the next couple of weeks.  The Colts have a long history of deep tournament runs with 15 Final Four appearances, including three state championships and four state runner-up showings.

“Again, I feel we can compete with anybody, but I also understand how hard it is to make a run,” offered Troccoli. “Just in our district there are some good teams and we’ll have to get by Athens. The winner of our district will have (likely) have to beat (New Baltimore) Anchor Bay and then the district winner from (defending Division 1 state champion Rochester) Stoney Creek, Adams, Rochester, (Utica) Eisenhower, Romeo and Utica – and that’s a really strong district. If we can make a run our road to (the Final Four) won’t be easy.”

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