The Catholic League rivals collided on the field Tuesday night at Dearborn Divine Child as the Falcons hosted Cranbrook-Kingswood at Bloomfield Hills. The two teams played a 1-1 draw in their first meeting of the season.
Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook at Dearborn Divine Child Boys Soccer Photo Gallery
After trailing 1-0 at the start, Divine Child rallied with two goals and managed to fend off Cranbrook, winning a 2-1 final and giving the Cranes their first loss of the season.
Divine Child’s victory (5-5-2, 3-2-2 CHSL-AA) gives them two wins in their last three games played after a five-game streak of 0-3-2 overall.
For Cranbrook (8-1-2, 6-1-2 CHSL-AA), not only does he end a four-game winning streak, it’s the first time this season that they’ve allowed more than one goal. .
“The great thing tonight was seeing our seniors come up to our pitch,” said Falcons coach Dean Kowalski. “It was a great atmosphere. It’s high school soccer, it’s an experience you can’t have anywhere else.
“It was a huge blow to our guys. “
All three goals came in the first half. Cranbrook struck first in the 18th minute on a Zach Wittenberg goal.
Divine Child scored both of his goals in the final eight minutes and the change in the first half. The equalizer came in the 32nd minute when Aiden Whalen scored a free kick to the head. Then it was DJ Robinson who delivered the winner of the match with just over three minutes before the intermission.
Cranbrook kept the pressure on in the second half as he felt the pitch was tilting in his favor. There were a few key late opportunities which almost led to another draw between the two rivals.
The Cranes almost got one squeaked by Falcons goalkeeper Dominic Maccani in the 67th minute, one of Maccani’s many saves on the evening. Then in the last minute of play, the visitors had a corner kick chance which led to a mad scramble ahead but to no avail.
Cranbrook coach Chad O’Kulich took his hat off to Divine Child for the hard-fought victory.
“You have to credit DC, they played a great game and beat us,” O’Kulich said. “They deserved to win tonight. I thought it was a great game, both teams created opportunities for each other. At the end of the day, they had two and we had one.
“Every time we play DC we know it’s going to be a great game.”
The state playoffs are fast approaching. The two teams only have a handful of games left in the regular season. This includes the Catholic League Championships, which Divine Child is expected to host on Wednesday, October 6.
Coaches are always looking to tighten up and polish certain things over time. Kowalski and O’Kulich are no different.
“Today we were able to finish on a few occasions,” said Kowalski. “We really want to refine the game of our special teams – manage the free kicks, defend the free kicks, defend the corners. I think our football IQ is good right now. The mistakes we made mentally at the beginning of the year, we are correcting them now.
Much like his Divine Child counterpart, O’Kulich is very conscious of keeping things in perspective.
“As you know, you can’t take these games for granted,” said O’Kulich. “The level of competition here in the Catholic League is impressive. We know they have a tough playoff district and so do we. So it’s important to take things one game at a time.
Both teams will be back in action Thursday night. Cranbrook will visit Ann Arbor’s Gabriel Richard at 5 p.m., a team the Cranes shut out 4-0 on September 14. The Falcons will host Macomb Lutheran North at 7 p.m. and will see the Mustangs for the first time this season.