It was an on-field inner-city showdown for the second time this season as Dearborn High hosted crosstown rivals Fordson on Tuesday night. This was a Dearborn-owned series in recent history, having won 14 consecutive meetings dating back to the 2010 season.
Fordson in Dearborn High’s Girls Soccer Photo Gallery
That trend continued for the Pioneers on Tuesday. After an 8-0 win in the first matchup, the hosts eliminated the Tractors again, this time with a 5-0 final.
The result marked the 12th time in a now 15-game winning streak in which Dearborn (10-2, 9-2 KLAA East) has scored five or more goals. It is also the 11th shutout for the Tractors (3-8-1, 2-8-1 KLAA East) during the same stretch.
Things didn’t go smoothly for the Pioneers from start to finish, however. While the field was mostly in their favor throughout the game, Fordson put together good stretches to give his rival a hard time.
The goalless tie was broken in the 14th minute. Dearborn went into the break 2-0 after a goal 10 minutes from time in the first half.
It was a similar start to the second half for the Pioneers in terms of goals, but the last three goals came quickly. Two goals were scored within 38 seconds from the 54th minute of the game. Both were kindly provided by Juliauna Karkaba, one of nine seniors honored at Seniors Night for Dearborn.
Juliauna’s younger sister Olivia Karkaba also scored for the Pioneers in the win, as did Serena Faraj and Gabriella Palmeri.
“We started the first game (against Fordson) in a similar way,” said Dearborn coach Tony Ventura. “We went ahead and then it calmed everyone down and instead made them believe in the style of play of chasing and playing more directly.
“We talked about playing more possession,” added Ventura. “We wanted to keep our space and limit touches so contact is limited.”
Things got a little tense for a moment in the middle of the second half and players on both sides exchanged words. The end result was that a Fordson player received a yellow card and then a red card, meaning a disqualification.
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed for the rest of the game.
“Anytime you play in a crosstown rivalry, it can get a little hectic,” Ventura said. “It’s good to come out of here with a win, number one. And number two, going uninjured and without red cards is huge.”
Fordson coach Bobby Murray recognizes that emotions can run high in rivalry games when the Dearborn-area programs go head-to-head. He also knows the importance of not letting things escalate, which he ended up happily seeing.
“With Dearborn, Fordson and (Edsel Ford), everyone knows everyone,” Murray said. “It’s like a big family. So it’s easy for things to get hotter than normal. The greatest thing is to just take a deep breath and calm everyone down.
“Our girls did a great job today. “There are certainly some things we can clean up. But you also have to give credit to Dearborn, they had some good shots and took some really great opportunities.”
Overall, tractors have gradually improved since last year. In addition to two wins more than all of last season, the team’s goal difference in 13 games this season (-28) has improved significantly from the first 13 games last season (-66).
Murray knows there’s still plenty of room for growth, but he’s at least encouraged by what he’s seen this season.
“This team has done a great job so far,” said Murray. “We were really impressed by the tenacity of our girls. They are fast on the ball and play intelligent, aggressive football. We were able to take advantage of some games that were within our reach and managed to stay competitive against the tougher opponents.”
Barring two losses to powerhouse Livonia Stevenson, Dearborn is 10-0 on goal difference of +63. Otherwise, the Pioneers have been outplayed 10-1 on aggregate in their two losses to the Spartans this season.
Next up for Dearborn on Thursday, May 12 was a road tilt with KLAA East foe Livonia Franklin. The Pioneers were scheduled to host Rochester Hills Stoney Creek a day later and then face off at home with Pontiac Notre Dame Prep on Monday, May 16 at 7 pm
Stoney Creek currently holds the second-highest Michigan Power Rating in Division 1 (.687) — the state’s top 10 regardless of division — while Notre Dame ranks fourth in D3 in the same division (.641 MPR).
Ventura is primarily focused on the upcoming game against Franklin and making sure his team does the same.
“We’re focusing on one game at a time,” Ventura said. “I try not to look further ahead than what lies ahead. And I don’t allow the girls to worry about it either. We only control what we can control and whoever we play, we will play them the same way, whoever it is.”
Fordson, meanwhile, will have action at home against KLAA East foe Belleville on May 13 at 5:30 p.m. The Tractors lost 7-0 to the Tigers on April 19th.