On Wednesday at Trenton High School home was a trophy for the biggest girls soccer matchup in the Downriver League this spring season. Having already won no less than a share of the championship title, Trenton had a chance to claim the crown with a win over longtime rival Woodhaven.
Woodhaven at Trenton Girls Soccer Photo Gallery
The Warriors, meanwhile, needed to win their last two league games to claim at least part of the league title for the third straight season.
However, the Trojans dashed all those remaining hopes as they defeated Woodhaven 3-1. With the win, Trenton (14-3-1, 12-0 DRL) secured the league standings for the first time since 2018.
On a rainy night in Trenton, the goal began in the 15th minute when the Trojans’ Kate Haveman put a shot into the net. Claire Gonyea, who initially turned away, was able to catch the loose ball and headed it past Woodhaven goalkeeper Kamari Dabbs to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
The Warriors (11-4-1, 8-2 DRL) were able to react later in the half. A shot on target by Parker Cheney was blocked by Trenton goalkeeper Leila Gorno. But much like Trenton’s goal, Gabby Czopek was in the right place at the right time, collecting the distraction and hammering home the equaliser.
The decisive goal came 10 minutes into the second half. A breach by Woodhaven in the box set up Trenton with a penalty and Anais Garcia didn’t miss. Gonyea later added one on a long cross-field shot that went over the outstretched dabbs, extending the Trenton lead and completing the goal.
In 2021, the Trojans finished second to Woodhaven in the DRL with a record of 5-0-6 against league opponents.
“Last year was a year where we had to try to gain a foothold,” said Trenton coach Mike Hatfield. “We still haven’t lost a league game. It took everything for the returning players to say, ‘We’re going to do our best and keep everything tight. Having all these relationships, having to come back in most of them is fiery. The spirit has really grown as a team.
“These girls don’t stress,” Hatfield added. “We’re having fun and enjoying this ride.”
In a game where the error rate is very small, Hatfield knows that mistakes can happen and it’s about reacting to those mistakes. Trenton’s Jayci Passerman spoke about the importance of communication.
“We always make sure we talk to each other as a team,” Passerman said. “We will always be there for each other if we miss a ball. But it’s very important to stay on your feet and make sure everyone is on the same page.”
Passerman is one of just three seniors in the Trojans roster this spring. In a season where there was some “trial and error” in the early stages of the campaign, Passerman opened up about what it was like to take on a bigger leadership role.
“In the beginning, it was definitely a learning experience,” Passerman said. “It was hard for us to just pick everything up and play as a team. It took us a minute to learn how to play with each other. But honestly, a young team can work magic. It’s fun to teach and learn from these younger girls.”
Woodhaven’s first-year coach Abbey Lorenz spoke after the game about where she felt her team fell short the most.
“I thought we came out pretty hard,” Lorenz said. “(Trenton) had a couple of good chances early on and was able to capitalize. We didn’t react really well in the first half.
“Our aim (in the second half) was to push their back line and make them cough up the ball,” added Lorenz. “I thought we played well at times but at the end of the day Trenton were just the better team.”
The first meeting between the two rivals on May 7 ended in a 1-0 win in Trenton’s favour. It’s the first time since 2017 that Woodhaven has lost multiple conference games in a single season, both to the Trojans.
Since the DRL was formed in the 2009/10 school year, the girls’ soccer championship has been held in Trenton or Woodhaven each season.
Now Woodhaven needs to hit the reset button and regroup.
Lorenz, a 2016 Woodhaven graduate and former soccer star, said the biggest challenge will be on the mental rather than the physical side.
“Of course the girls will be disappointed,” said Lorenz. “But in the future I think we have a good chance of winning our district. I just don’t want the girls to be too hard on themselves because we still have a lot of goals to achieve.
“The (Thursday) training will be a big one. The girls will be emotional. It’s emotional for everyone, losing the league doesn’t make you feel good. But the girls have to get involved, that’s the biggest thing.”
Wednesday’s competition was Trenton’s last league game of the season. The Trojans will carry a season-best nine-game winning streak into their regular-season finale on May 23 at 5:00 p.m. in Tecumseh in Tecumseh
Woodhaven, meanwhile, is closing out its conference list with a trip to Gibraltar Carlson on Saturday at 10 a.m. before making a 6 p.m. home bow for Detroit Country Day ahead of the May 23 regular season