By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half
WILLIAMSTON – Kennedy Myers didn’t want to forget the images, even if they were still like piercing wounds.
A sophomore forward for the Flint Powers Catholic girls soccer team, Myers had flashbacks of last year’s Division 3 title game loss to Hudsonville Unity Christian when Powers took the field to face Freeland in this year’s Final on Friday.
“Right before this game started, I remembered last year and how the seniors felt getting their medals for second place,” Myers said. “Seeing their faces and how disappointed they were. I knew I had to use that to motivate me today.”
Thanks to two early goals from Myers, Powers made good of another title chance and had a much happier disposition during the medal ceremony this time following a 4-0 defeat of Freeland.
The championship was the second in school history for Powers (26-1-2), which also won it all in 2011.
“You look back knowing we were a better team last year,” Powers coach Art Moody said. “Nothing against Unity because they did what they needed to. We just outshot them last year and learned from that. We came in here saying these were the things we needed to do better. It meant so much to have that negative to look back on to kind of say, ‘Hey, this is how we are going to turn it into a positive.’”
Powers took a 1-0 lead with 30:18 remaining in the first half on a goal by Myers, who found herself with the ball right in front of the goal following a series of deflections off a free kick.
Powers then scored two goals over a span of 1:34, the first by Myers with 19:05 left in the first half.
Dribbling toward the goal from the right side of the net, she had a shot blocked by Freeland junior goalkeeper Alexa Walker.
But the ball bounced back toward the middle of the box, Myers won the race to the ball and fired into an open net to make it 2-0 Powers.
With 17:31 left in the first half, senior Emilie Pechette then drilled home a shot from 18 yards out to give the Chargers a 3-0 lead.
“I definitely think it shot our confidence down,” Freeland coach Lauren Kemerer said. “I just tried to explain to the girls that if something like that happens, you have to pick yourselves up.”
Powers made it 4-0 with 20:25 left in the game when senior Gabrielle Amato headed home a ball in the box off a corner kick by senior Sophia Dubiel that deflected off of a Freeland defender and went in.
“(Last year) definitely carried with us,” Powers senior sweeper Rachel Phillpotts said. “It definitely made an impact on how we came out here and how we did our season this year. We needed to come out and really show people that last year was not a fluke.”
Freeland (23-2) entered with a lot of momentum following a 3-2 Semifinal win Tuesday over three-time reigning champion Unity Christian.
The downside from that win for Freeland was that it lost one of its best players, senior midfielder Jessica Piper, late in the game to a knee injury.
Piper didn’t play in the title game against Powers.
“She’s a phenomenal player,” Kemerer said. “Defensively and offensively she’s a leader on our team, and it was definitely detrimental to our team to not have her.”
Still, Freeland did make the MHSAA championship game for the first time in school history.
“Our goal this year was getting past Unity,” Kemerer said. “We wanted it and worked towards it. We hit our goals. We expected to make it here. It’s unfortunate we lost, but it is what it is. It’s a learning experience for all of us.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Flint Powers Catholic players celebrate during Saturday's Division 3 Final at Williamston High School. (Middle) Freeland's Erin Tyson (2) works to gain possession against Powers' Dominique Amato (19).