Shelby Township, UticaJune 14, 2014
Northville defeats Utica Eisenhower in MHSAA Division 1 state championship
By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer
Megan Buckingham and Jamie Cheslik scored 54 combined goals coming into the MHSAA Division 1 state championship on June 14 at Williamston High School, and they each added one to that total to lead Northville to a 2-1 victory against Utica Eisenhower.
Buckingham struck first on a give-and-go counterattack, as she passed to Cheslik, whose initial shot was blocked, but Buckingham corralled the rebound and scored her 23rd goal of the season with 31:16 left in the first half.
Cheslik joined Buckingham in the scoring column 16:22 into the second half, as she took advantage of a ball bounced off an Eisenhower defender in the attacking zone that allowed Cheslik to accelerate past the Eagles' defense and score on an open net.
"I knew I had to place it," Cheslik said. "I knew that if I just dribbled it in that I couldn't miss."
Eisenhower made a comeback attempt, as Paige Duda received a pass from Caitlin Carroll just inside the box before burying a shot in the top right corner of the net with 8:02 left.
Eisenhower had one more shot attempt after that, but Buckingham and Cheslik controlled the ball to run out the clock.
Northville finishes 23-0 while surrenduring five goals all season. This is the Mustangs' first state championship since 2004.
"It's been a long time coming," Northville coach Eric Brucker said. "It's a great feeling. I'm so proud of these kids. With all of the work they've done, they earned it. Every single minute, with everything they've done, they've earned it."
Eisenhower closes the season at 18-2-2. The Eagles will graduate seven seniors, but will return its entire attacking line that contributed to scoring three or more goals in every playoff game leading up to the title game.
"I'm very confident that we'll be back, there's no question," Eisenhower coach Mehrdad Nekoogar said. "It was a good game today, but mistakes are going to cost you, and you can't make mistakes against a great team."
"We came back. We scored the goal that we needed to, and we ran out of time.There's nothing to be ashamed of. I told them to keep their heads up and that we'll be back again."