The girls at Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes and Clarkston Everest Collegiate have a lot of fun at the expense of sophomore sweeper Shelby Mann. They give her the silent treatment at practice yet make her laugh during media interviews.
But at least she’s getting a lot more respect after her late goal Wednesday gave the Lakers a 3-2 semifinal win over Lansing Christian, setting up an opportunity Saturday to avenge last year’s championship-game loss to Grandville Calvin Christian.
Mann was behind the play on a corner kick with 15 minutes remaining, but when a rebound bounced her way, she let loose a bullet that sailed just under the crossbar, above the outstretched arms of the Pilgrims’ goalkeeper.
“Coach Katie (Hearn) told me to stand in front of the goal, and the ball just came out and I just shot it,” Mann said. “It was just so crazy, it was just like a corner kick, it was just one of those things, and I put it in the back of the net.”
It was Mann’s second goal of the season and first career game-winner, but it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time as she helped the Lakers to their 20th consecutive win.
“I’ll tell you what, we tease Shelby Mann a lot,” Hearn said. “She’s a goofy kind of girl, and she’s got a really fun personality. If she shoots and scores in practice, no one will say a word; they don’t cheer for her. This was a little different. I’m glad that they congratulated her appropriately. I gave her the game ball — she deserved it.”
The Lakers, who never trailed, also got first-half tallies from Anna Robb and Alex Troy.
“We’ve had one goal this whole season, and it was to get back to the state championship,” Hearn said. “That’s the last game we’ve lost, and the girls are super pumped to help rectify that. I definitely think that it’s helped motivate us to get through this. I can’t wait, I can’t wait.”
The Lakers, who won the Division 4 state title in 2010, have lost just three times in the four seasons they’ve had a varsity program, and graduated just one girl from the squad that played in last year’s championship.
Isabel Bustamante and Emily Voss scored for Lansing Christian, which finished 10-4-3 after suffering three losses and a tie in the season’s first four games.