Western High School goalie Michael Herrington makes a save during the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 regional final at Novi on Wednesday. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
Western High School soccer player Cameron Blakemore said when times get tough, the back line for the Panthers has one another’s back.
That came in handy on Wednesday.
Western built a big lead against Dearborn Divine Child only to see it shrink to one goal in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 regional semifinal at Novi’s Meadows Stadium.
The defense held Divine Child scoreless in the second half for a 5-2 win. With the victory, the Panthers will face Melvindale in the regional final Friday for a chance to play in the Division 2 final four.
The final is schedules to start at 7 p.m. at Novi.
The Panthers built a 3-0 lead in the first 29 minutes of action. But Divine Child scored twice in the final 10:25 of the first half cutting the lead to 3-2 at halftime.
“I think we shocked them a little bit by scoring the first three goals,” WHS Coach Scott Watterson said.
Marshall Eva of Western scored eight minutes into the contest giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Blakemore assisted on a goal by Ethan Zuke six minutes later for a 2-0 lead.
When Caden Embury scored the third goal of the game on an assist by Isaac Ortega at the 11:32 mark of the first half, it appeared the Panthers were headed toward a rout.
But Divine Child got a little more aggressive in scoring two goals in a four-minute span letting the Panthers know they were not going to roll over and play dead.
The game got a little physical at that point.
But the Western defense had all the solutions in the second half, shutting out Divine Child with only two shots on goal.
“We play as a unit and know that we have got each other’s back,” defender Blakemore said.
Blakemore said he used to let the physical nature of the games get to him, affecting his play on the back line. But that wasn’t the case against Divine Child.
Jonathon Shaw scored four minutes into the second half for Western giving the Panthers a two-goal lead. Trey Cottingham capped off the scoring 12 minutes later on an assist by Gavin Speer.
Western goalie Michael Herrington made five saves in the contest, including a solid stop the first minutes of the contest.
Western is now 18-3 on the season and will face a fast Melvindale team (14-3-2) in the finals tomorrow night.