Dearborn Divine Child plays in the tough Double-A Division of the Catholic League, and took its lumps in getting ready for the playoffs.
Now the Falcons are dishing them out, dominating a Division 2 semifinal against Fenton to claim a 2-0 victory Wednesday at Auburn Hills Avondale.
Divine Child (13-7-4) advanced to Saturday’s championship against either East Lansing or Mattawan.
“We played (Novi Detroit) Catholic Central to open the season and that kind of set the bar,” said Divine Child coach Dean Kowalski. “We played one of the best teams in the state and we kind of figured out where we needed to be at the end of the year. They kind of took us to the woodshed in that game. Since then it has been a slow climb to where we’re at now. In the league going up against (Bloomfield Hills) Cranbrook, (Macomb) Lutheran North and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s prepared us for this.”
The Falcons looked like they were prepared, sending lasers at Fenton (12-3-5) to grab the early lead at head to their first championship game in school history.
“We’ve been waiting to do this since I was a player in the 1990s,” said Kowalski. “I don’t even know how to describe it right now.”
Divine Child struck first on an unassisted goal by senior defenseman Kevin Gondoly, who made a couple of nice moves to elude Fenton defenders and blasted a shot in the left corner of the net at the 18:38 mark.
“It’s great,” said Gondoly. “We made history. We’re one of the top D-2 teams in the state. I stole the ball, found a space and I just shot it. It went in.”
Said Kowalski: “Kevin Gondoly, senior defender. He has done everything for us. He had a tough assignment marking their best player. Unbelievable player and not only could he take their best player out of the game, but he could also get the game-winning goal.”
Fenton sophomore goalkeeper Noah Martin was hurt on the play, apparently injuring his shoulder, and was replaced by senior Mikko Huotari.
Martin eventually returned, just in time to have Justin Stack blister a shot to his right and into the net to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead.
“He has scored in every game in the playoffs except one,” said Kowalski of Stack. “Every October and November, he waits until the playoffs. He has been amazing.”
Fenton had a chance to get within a goal on three point-blank shots, but goalie Evan Mazurek was up to the task.
Fenton won its first regional title last week with a 1-0 victory over Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.
“It’s all about our seniors; it has been all season,” said coach Matt Sullivan. “It’s just such a tight-knit group. They hang out so much more than on the field. It has made this run even more special. I’ve been doing this for a long time. You get a team like this and you just try and stay out of their way.”
Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.