Trenton women’s soccer dominates Woodhaven; Wins DRL Championship with PHOTO GALLERY – The News Herald

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A trophy was in the house at Trenton High School on Wednesday for the Downriver League’s biggest women’s soccer game this spring. Having already clinched nothing worse than a share of the league title, Trenton had a shot at claiming the crown with a win over longtime rival Woodhaven.

Woodhaven at Trenton Women’s Soccer Photo Gallery

Meanwhile, the Warriors needed to win their final two league games to claim at least a share of the league title for the third consecutive season.

The Trojans, however, crushed all those remaining hopes by beating Woodhaven 3-1. With the win, Trenton (14-3-1, 12-0 DRL) captured the league championship for the first time since 2018.

Alex Muller – For MediaNews Group

Trenton’s Claire Gonyea (left) is looking to edge out Woodhaven defenseman Jenna Lake on Wednesday night. Gonyea and the host Trojans beat Warriors 3-1 to claim the 2022 Downriver League Absolute Championship. (Alex Muller – For MediaNews Group)

On a rainy night in Trenton, the scoring started in the 15th minute when the Trojans’ Kate Haveman took a shot on goal. Initially deflected, Claire Gonyea was able to recover the loose ball and head it past Woodhaven goalkeeper Kamari Dabbs, giving the home side a 1-0 lead.

The Warriors (11-4-1, 8-2 DRL) were able to respond later in the half. A Parker Cheney shot on goal was deflected by Trenton goaltender Leila Gorno. But similar to Trenton’s goal, Gabby Czopek was in the right place at the right time, collecting the deflection and hammering in the equaliser.

Woodhaven's Parker Cheney (11) and Trenton's Chloe Wishart battle for the ball Wednesday night.  The Warriors gave the host Trojans a battle before going down 3-1.  (Alex Muller - For MediaNews Group)
Woodhaven’s Parker Cheney (11) and Trenton’s Chloe Wishart battle for the ball Wednesday night. The Warriors gave the host Trojans a battle before going down 3-1. (Alex Muller – For MediaNews Group)

The winning goal came 10 minutes into the second half. A Woodhaven offense in the box gave Trenton a penalty and Anais Garcia did not miss. Gonyea then added one on a long cross shot that went over and past the tense Dabbs, which extended Trenton’s lead and capped the scoring.

In 2021, the Trojans finished second to Woodhaven in the DRL with a 5-0-6 record against league opponents.

“Last year was a year where we had to try to find our footing,” Trenton coach Mike Hatfield said. “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 close. Having all these ties, having to come back in most of them, their spirit has really grown as a team.

“There’s no stress about these girls,” added Hatfield. “We are having fun and enjoying this ride.”

In a game where the margin for error is very slim, Hatfield knows mistakes can happen and it’s about responding to those mistakes. Jayci Passerman from Trenton explained how communication is of the utmost importance.

“We always make sure to talk together 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 our feet and make sure everyone is on the same page.”

Passerman is one of only three seniors on the Trojans list this spring. In a season where there was “trial and error” at the start of the campaign, Passerman spoke about what it was like to take on a bigger leadership role.

“It was definitely a learning experience at first,” Passerman said. “It was tough for us to pick it all up and play as a team. It took us a minute to learn how to play with each other. But honestly, having a young team can work magic. It’s fun to play with each other. ‘teach and learn from these young girls.’

After the game, Woodhaven’s first-year coach Abbey Lorenz spoke about where she thought her team fared least.

“I think we came out pretty tough,” Lorenz said. “(Trenton) had a few good chances early on and were able to capitalize. We didn’t really respond well in the first half.

“Our goal (in the second half) was to press their back line and get them to spit the ball out,” added Lorenz. “I thought we did well in parts of the game, 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 victory in favor of Trenton. It’s the first time since 2017 that Woodhaven has lost multiple conference games in one season, both also at the hands of the Trojans.

Trenton players celebrate a goal Wednesday night in the team's game against Woodhaven.  The host Trojans beat Warriors 3-1 to clinch the absolute Downriver League title for 2022. (Alex Muller - For MediaNews Group)

Alex Muller – For MediaNews Group

Trenton players celebrate a goal Wednesday night in the team’s game against Woodhaven. The host Trojans beat Warriors 3-1 to clinch the absolute Downriver League title for 2022. (Alex Muller – For MediaNews Group)

Since the DRL’s inception in the 2009–10 school year, the Women’s Football Championship has passed through Trenton or Woodhaven each season.

Woodhaven should now hit the reset button and regroup.

Lorenz, a 2016 graduate of Woodhaven and a former standout footballer, said the biggest challenge will be more mental than physical.

“Obviously the girls are going to be disappointed,” Lorenz said. “But going forward, I think we have a good chance of winning our district. I just don’t want the girls to get too hard on themselves because we still have a lot of goals to accomplish.

“Training (on Thursday) will be important. The girls are going to be emotional. It’s emotional for everyone, losing the league doesn’t make you feel very good. But the girls have to commit, that’s the most important thing.”

Wednesday’s game was the last league game of the season for Trenton. The Trojans will go on a season-best nine-game winning streak in their regular-season finale on May 23 in Tecumseh at 5 p.m.

Woodhaven will conclude his conference slate with a trip to Gibraltar Carlson on Saturday at 10 a.m. before losing the regular season on May 23 at home against Detroit Country Day at 6 p.m.

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