ROCHESTER HILLS — Youth was served in Grand Blanc High’s 2-1 win over Utica Ford II in a June 14 Division 1 state semifinal as Bobcats freshman Faith Webber scored two goals to pull her team to within one victory of the program’s first state title.
Grand Blanc (18-1-4) advances to take on Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central in the D-1 title game, set for 4 p.m. June 17 at Williamston High.
The Bobcats finished as state runner-up in 2004 and 2015.
Webber’s two goals came within five minutes of each other after Grand Blanc fell behind 1-0 on a goal by Falcons senior Salena Speagle with 37:30 to play. The Grand Blanc freshman tied the game at 1-1 with 23:51 to play on a shot from the left side that found the right side of the net.
“That was all a blur. I just got the ball on my right foot and hit it as hard as I could, and it found the back of the net,” Webber said.
Webber put her team ahead for good on a shot that got past Ford sophomore goalkeeper Emma Boutorwick with 18:44 left. Faith’s sister Paige set her up for the goal.
“One of our midfielders had the ball and I saw my sister run up to get it, and as soon as I saw her I said, ‘I have to hit this ball off of some body part,’ and I was able to and it went in.”
Ford for much of the first half dominated the ball, as the majority of the first 40 minutes were played in Grand Blanc’s end. The Bobcats had a good look with about 9:30 left that was stopped by Boutorwick.
“I told my coaches, ‘We better get something in the first half or we’re going to struggle,’ and we struggled,” Ford coach Teri Steinwascher said. “We knew they would come out strong, because their fitness is awesome. They’re a strong, fast team and they were able to stick with their game plan in the second half.”
The Falcons (15-2-4) came out aggressive to start the second half and it paid off with Speagle’s goal.
Ford’s next good chance came with 29:20 left, as a header from senior Cecilia Steinwascher clanged off the crossbar.
“They were able to get to the outside a lot in the second half and our game plan was to push them inside,” Steinwascher said.
“This is a rush,” Faith Webber said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet that we’re going to the state title game.”
Ford, which knocked off Anchor Bay 2-1 June 8 to win a regional championship, through five playoff games outscored opponents 14-7.
The Falcons lose five players to graduation: Chloe Chatzis, Lauren Cimino, Olivia Parra, Steinwascher and Speagle.
Ford has 20 players eligible to return next season.
“We went through a lot this season. This team battled a lot of adversity. I’m very proud of this group,” said Steinwascher, who has coached two of the Ford teams that advanced to the state semis.
“Our seniors helped bring everybody together. This is a great group, and they fought all year long.”