Shelby Township, Walled Lake, UticaJune 4, 2014
Utica Eisenhower defeats Walled Lake Northern in regional semifinal
By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer
Shannon Casey scored twice and Isabella Palazzolo had three assists to pace Utica Eisenhower to a 4-1 victory against Walled Lake Northern in a MHSAA Division 1 regional semifinal on Wednesday night at Rochester High.
Palazzolo connected with Casey on the game's first goal with 20:11 left in the first half. Casey made a pass across the box and over the outstretched arms of the Northern keeper to find Casey, who calmly converted the open opportunity.
Northern responded immediately, as freshman Nicole LaFrance scored from about 30 yards out to tie the game just 29 seconds after Eisenhower's first tally.
The two sides played an even end to the first half, but the Eagles took over after the break.
Caitlin Carroll made it 2-1 Eisenhower with 33:41 left, then Casey tallied her second goal just more than two minutes later.
Junior Paige Duda finished off the night for Eisenhower by scoring with 13:50 left.
"I knew the opportunities were going to come in the second half," Eisenhower coach Mehrdad Nekoogar said. "Fitnesswise, we're in excellent shape, so it was just a matter of time to put the ball in the net, and second half, we took care of business."
Northern coach Drew Drummond said it was a game of two halves.
"In the first half, we had opportunities and they had opportunites, but something switched in the second half. We had a couple of breakdowns, and they're a good enough team to punish you for it," Drummond said.
Northern closes its year at 12-5-1. Eisenhower (16-1-2) will face Grand Blanc in a regional final at 5 p.m. on June 6 at Rochester High.