Girls varsity soccer suffers a heartbreaking season-ending loss to Novi 3-2 in PKs


Tommy Spaletto, Sports Reporter

Despite a strong second-half comeback with two goals in 25 minutes, the girls varsity soccer team fell just short in a heartbreaking loss in the state semifinals against the nationally ranked Novi Wildcats 3-2 in PK’s. Freshman Lauren Koczenasz scored one of the goals and senior captain Ashley Ward would tie the game up at two goals with 15 minutes left in regulation. Senior goalie Alexa Lauer also played very well despite the outcome of the game.

What hurt FHC the most against the Wildcats was its slow start. Novi controlled most of the possession and was able to tire out the Lady Ranger defense early. This lead to a free-kick goal from the Wildcats by Ball State commit Avery Fenchel to put Novi up 1-0. The Wildcats would score again just 9 minutes later to extend the lead to 2-0. FHC couldn’t get any offense going and the game was heading in the wrong direction for the Lady Rangers. The two teams went into halftime with the score being 2-0 in the favor of Novi.

FHC had always been a second-half team, and they proved that Wednesday night. Lauren Koczenasz, who has been huge on offense this year, scored only 18 seconds into the second half. This goal brought a whole new life to the large Ranger crowd who had come out to support. FHC looked like a new team in the second half, as now they were the ones getting more and more offensive opportunities.

With only 15 minutes left in the game, Ashley Ward would tie the game up at 2 and send the FHC student section into an eruption. The defense also played very well late in the game. Sophomore Autumn Burns did an excellent job of clearing balls and limiting any Wildcat opportunities late in the game. Alexa Lauer also made some phenomenal saves not just late in the game, but throughout the entire game itself. Both teams would head into overtime tied at 2 goals.

Novi came out very strong to start overtime, as they connected very well from one side of the field to the other to try and do what they did in the first half. Credit to the Lady Ranger defense, they were able to hold strong and not let any goals in. The back line did well in overtime just like they have done all season long, as Autumn and Chloe Grooters did a great job of clearing balls out away from the net. No goals were scored in the two overtime periods, so the game was sent into PKs.

The Lady Rangers wet 0-3 on PKs, and this opened the door for Novi just to connect on two of the three. They were able to and FHC’s season ended in heartbreaking fashion, stopping just short of their goal to go to the state championship and win a state title.

The loss puts the Lady Rangers at a final record of 21-3. The future looks very bright for FHC, as they return exactly half their lineup of 22 and look to fill the other 11 slots from a very talented JV team.