Dream season continues
Almont soccer stuns Grosse Ile, earns spot in state's final four
|The Almont soccer team, their coaches and statistician pose for a photo with their district and regional trophies. They take on Lansing Catholic Wednesday in a Div. 3 state semifinal set for Williamston High School. photo by Kevin Kissane.|
November 03, 2010ALMONT — Almont claimed their first-ever regional championship, handing second-rated Grosse Ile a 1-0 setback in a Division 3 boys' soccer battle last Friday night.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep High School is where the action unfolded.
With the result, Almont (19-4) advances to this Wednesday's semifinal as Williamston High School. There they will square off versus third-ranked Lansing Catholic. That matchup is scheduled for 6 p.m.
"There weren't many around outside of Almont who thought we would make it out of our district," Almont Coach Djon Camaj said. "The kids took that as a challenge, won our district and followed it up with a regional title," he noted.
"We knocked off some very good teams to get where we are today. If we can get past one more good team we will get a chance to play for the state title."
In Friday's regional finale, Almont and Grosse Ile wrapped up the initial half knotted at zero goals apiece.
When the action resumed, the contest remained a close one.
The Grosse Ile offense maintained possession most of the time, outshooting Almont by a nearly 3-1 margin.
Despite the constant pressue, Almont refused to allow a goal.
Then, with 1:20 showing on the clock, and the prospects of overtime looming, Almont gave their followers reason to stand up and cheer. That happened when Kyle McNeil took a pass from Forestt LaFave, stepped forward and booted the ball into the net.
His shot touched off a celebration as Almont could sense they were on the verge of accomplishing what few thought possible.
Just 80 ticks later, Almont picked up the celebration where it left off. The Raiders had captured their first-ever regional title, knocking off yet another heavily favored adversary en route.
Wes Hall handled the goalkeeping chores for the winning Almont side. He was credited with 15 saves.
Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.