Coach Barry Brodsky doesn’t need numbers to quantify the value of Anna Kemp and Amy Stroud to Birmingham Marian’s soccer team.
They’re in the starting lineup of a state powerhouse squad for a reason.
That reason usually isn’t to produce goals, but both unheralded Mustangs scored in Marian’s 2-1 victory over host Fenton in a Division 2 state semifinal Wednesday night.
Kemp scored with 2:45 left in the first half. Stroud made it 2-0 with 11:00 left in the second half, a goal that proved to be crucial when Fenton’s Maggie Dewan scored with 4:11 remaining.
Before this game, Kemp had two goals and two assists in 22 games, while Stroud had two goals and no assists in 21 games. Both goals were set up by Kelly Sweeney, who has 10 goals in 11 games of an injury-shortened sophomore season.
“They are both really hard workers,” Brodsky said of Kemp and Stroud. “When you work that hard, you may not be rewarded all the time. Anna makes those back-post runs all year long. Today she found the ball when she made that back-post run.
“Amy is really somebody who is a little bit under the radar because of some of the other players on this team, but she’s one heck of a player. Everybody on this team encourages Amy to shoot more.”
While Kemp doesn’t score often, she picks her moments. One of her two previous goals came in overtime against Division 3 finalist Pontiac Notre Dame in the semifinals of the Catholic League tournament.
“I’m not typically a goal scorer,” Kemp said. “It’s nice to really make those contributing goals under pressure.”
On the first goal, Sweeney drove down the left side of the field and made a long crossing pass to the front of the net. Kemp charged to the net and scored from close range.
On the second goal, Sweeney was swarmed by Fenton defenders but got the ball to Stroud, who buried a high shot from 25 yards out.
“She had five people on her, which made me open,” Stroud said. “It feels good that I got a goal in this kind of big game.”
Fenton was eliminated by Marian for the third time in five seasons.
“(Sweeney) is a special player,” Fenton coach Matt Sullivan said. “It just helps that they’ve got so many other special players around here. We didn’t even try to shut her down. It was just more of a mentality of trying to keep them from possessing the ball; we just couldn’t.”