Friday night, against a dangerous Gross Ile Red Devils team, freshman Sam Gonzalez proved to be the difference maker as he started and finished the Cougar scoring. Early in the first half, with the Cougars fending off a furious Red Devils attack, senior Remy Collard found Gonzalez on a long ball down the right wing. Gonzalez beat his defender to the corner and laid out a high arching cross to senior Chuck Plaehn, who didn’t need to help the ball find the far side of the net. The score shifted the momentum to the Cougars as they took the 1-0 lead.
Later in the first half, the Red Devils snuck in a goal off a long set piece. Grossed Ile controlled most of the play until five minutes before the half when sophomore Matthew Plaehn buried a sliding goal off a Remy Collard-corner kick giving Lansing Catholic a 2-1 lead going into halftime.
The second half was more of the the same with the stout Cougar defense holding off the Red Devils’ relentless attacking. Midway through the second half, the Red Devils found their equalizer off another set piece: their long high cross bounced around in the box and was tapped in to tie the game 2-2. The teams went back and forth for the remainder of the second half forcing double overtime which ended in a 2-2 tie.
Lansing Catholic, in its third penalty kick shootout of the playoffs, ended the initial round of five deadlocked at 3-3 after amazing saves by sophomore Cougar goal keeper Matthew Benivegna and the Red Devils keeper.
Now into sudden death penalty kicks, the Red Devils shot first and missed. Sam Gonzalez, first up for the Cougars, calmly buried the PK into right corner of the net for the Cougar victory.
Lansing Catholic advances to the State Semi-Finals for the first time since 2010. They will face the Flint Powers Catholic Chargers on Wednesday, November 2nd at 6:00 PM at Howell Parker Middle School. The weather promises to be perfect, so make the easy drive to Howell to cheer on your Cougars who are perfect in the post-season.
Submitted by Joe Gonzalez