Bloomfield Hills Marian Defeats Fenton 2-0 in Regional Soccer Final
Freshman Kelly Sweeney scores two goals to help Bloomfield Hills Marian defeat Fenton.
ORTONVILLE, Michigan -- Kelly Sweeney didn't put too much pressure on herself during Friday's Michigan High School Athletic Association Girls Soccer Division 2 Regional Final.
The Bloomfield Hills Marian freshman simply wanted to put her best foot forward and give her team a chance to continue its playoff run. While the Mustangs have relied heavily upon upperclassmen to win state titles -- such was true in 2009 and 2010 -- they had one of their youngest answer the call in a 2-0 win over the Fenton Tigers.
Sweeney scored both of the Mustangs' goals in the first half -- a penalty kick score at 13:33 and a breakaway goal with a second remaining -- to propel her club to a meeting with Trenton on June 13 in the state semifinals.
While she may be small in stature, Sweeney showed up in a big way for top-ranked Marian, which lost 13 seniors to graduation, and its district opener, in 2011.
"I feel like every game I should try my best, and I have a lot -- sometimes -- on my shoulders," Sweeney said, visibly exhausted after a clutch performance. "I just try to enjoy every minute."
Sweeney "really had no idea" just how important her breakaway goal was. As she torched down the field, she focused on gaining possession of the ball and paid no attention to the game clock.
"I just had the chance (to score) and I went for it," she said.
Fenton dictated the pace in the opening 20 minutes of the match. The Tigers were relentless in winning possession battles and physically frustrated the Mustangs. However, Sweeney knew the time would come when her team would need a boost. She was elated to be the one to provide that spark.
"I feel like our girls were down and I felt like someone needed to step up and get the girls going," Sweeney said. "I just took that initiative."
The Tigers knew they had their hands full coming into Friday's showdown with Marian, a team that had defeated them in the 2010 regionals.
Fenton coach Matt Sullivan was proud of his girls' resolve. They never got too down on themselves, he said. Facing a two-goal deficit at the break was a challenge, but Sullivan encouraged his girls to continue their fight.
Junior Payton Maxheimer was aggressive on offense, but she also helped set the tone defensively. Junior Marissa Newblatt also assisted in anchoring a formidable Tigers defense.
"That's one thing that we talked about is that we werent' going to back down," Sullivan said shortly after an on-field team meeting. "We wanted to force the play, that starts with our defense. Our defense did that right off the bat, you know? I was worried, because last time we played them, we didn't do that.
"We backed off. They basically just played cat-and-mouse with us. We were so tired after that, we just couldn't attack. Today, our whole emphasis was charging forward and matching their physicality -- which we did."