ALMONT — Third-ranked Lansing Catholic brought a halt to unrated Almont's dream season, pulling out a 4-2 victory in a Division 3 boys' soccer semifinal confrontation last Wednesday evening.
Williamston High School is where the action unfolded.
With the outcome, Lansing Catholic (20-2-1) advances to the state championship matchup. There they will square off against top-ranked Grand Rapids South Christian (24-2-1). Almont watches an outstanding 19-5 season reach an endpoint.
"It looked as if we might have been playing for the state title," Almont Coach Djon Camaj said. "We were up 2-0 with under 30 minutes to play but we couldn't quite hold on," he noted.
"Still, it was a great season. For us to reach the state semifinals with a team that has just two seniors (starting forward Forestt LaFave and backup goalkeeper Trevor Owen) is a great accomplishment."
In Wednesday's confrontation, Almont reached the scoreboard first.
That happened when Kyle McNeil took a pass from LaFave and booted it into the net. His tally came 1:54 before halftime.
The remainder of half number one was scoreless.
Evan Rolfs, of Almont, controls a pass during his team’s Division 3 boys’ soccer state semifinal clash versus Lansing Catholic. photo by Kevin Kissane.
When the action resumed, Almont gave its enthusiastic group of followers even more reason to stand up and cheer.
Brandon Gorde would see to that, capitalizing on a pinpoint pass directed to him by Aaron Schapman.
The Almont advantage stood at 2-0. There was now 29:22 remaining.
It appeared as if Almont was poised to knock off yet another highly-touted adversary.
However, Lansing Catholic had other ideas about what side would move on to the state championship match.
With 19:32 to play; Lansing Catholic's Nathan Riley made it a 2-1 contest when he collected a goal off a crossing pass from Joey Dunn.
Just 9:17 later, Lansing Catholic connected again. This time it was Dunn that provided the finisher, with Eric Watson setting it up.
That made it a 2-2 ballgame with 10:19 remaining during half number two.
Lansing Catholic then went ahead at 3-2 when Dunn took a pass from Jon Lawrence and found the back of the net for a goal. His effort came with 8:20 left and put the opposing side in a come-from-behind role for the first time that evening.
Then, with 5:49 to play, Lansing Catholic widened the gap to 4-2 when Louis Savana the ball into the net.
Neither side would score the rest of the way as Lansing Catholic secured a spot in the state championship game with the outcome.
Wes Hall went the distance as Almont's goalkeeper in the Division 3 state semifinal clash. Hall stopped 12 of the 16 shots he faced.
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.