Wildcats advance to district championship match with win over Dowagiac
Published 9:10 pm Wednesday, May 31, 2023
THREE RIVERS — Three Rivers’ toughness and physicality were dominant factors for the home team in a 5-1 Division 3 district girls’ district semifinal soccer win Tuesday evening over visiting Dowagiac.
Three Rivers (11-6-2) advances to the district finals for the third consecutive year, where it will face Berrien Springs (13-6) in the finals later this week.
Berrien Springs edged South Haven 1-0 in the other semifinal battle.
Dowagiac finishes the season 9-7.
The match was vastly different from the one, also won by Three Rivers 1-0, played earlier this spring between the two former Wolverine Conference foes.
Each team moved several key players to different positions on the field in an attempt to generate more offensive production.
Unfortunately, that tactic worked more in Three Rivers’ favor than it did for Dowagiac.
Behind the strong play of its sophomore tandem in forwards Paige McDonald and Tori Thorbjornsen, Three Rivers earned an 18-13 advantage in shots on goal.
McDonald recorded a hat trick for Three Rivers after finding the back of the Dowagiac net on three different occasions on a hot, muggy night at Armstrong Field.
Thorbjorsen scored twice for Three Rivers. Summer Morrill and Kathryn Carlisi each notched one assist for the Lady Cats.
Amaria Currier recorded seven goalie saves for Three Rivers.
McDonald recorded a pair of first-half goals for Three Rivers at 33:28 and 21:57. Thorbjorsen connected for the other Lady Cats’ goal with 10:59 remaining in the half, putting the hosts in front 3-0 at intermission.
Dowagiac’s only goal of the night was unassisted and was scored by senior Jenna Ward at the 36:51 mark of the second half.
Three Rivers added two more goals in the second half with Thorbjorsen scoring at 29:35, and McDonald added the final score with 20:17 remaining on the game clock.
Three Rivers had three corner kicks to one for Dowagiac.
Despite the season-ending loss, Dowagiac head coach Chad Davis had plenty of positive things to say about the 2023 season and his Lady Chieftains’ final match.
“Three Rivers had plenty of speed and hit some good shots especially at the start of the game,” he said. “We moved some players around to try and create some offense, but we just couldn’t generate enough to make a difference. We had five seniors with two of them playing the sport for the first time since they were a very young age. Our effort was there all season, we just need to develop more consistency with our younger players.
“We will return a young group of players. We’re looking for several of our underclassmen to develop their game in the offseason. There were several ups and downs. Sometimes we jelled really well together and other times we came out a little. These girls just have to work together in the future.”
Davis singled out the performance of his senior goalkeeper Triana Lee and senior forward Jessa Davis.
Lee recorded 10 saves in goal for Dowagiac on the night.
“Triana put in a ton of work and played very well for us all season. Jessa was one of our biggest leaders up top and carried us offensively in several matches,” Davis said.
Three Rivers head coach Travis Shubnell was pleased with his entire team’s performance.
“We also put several players in different spots this time. Our team has improved so much over the course of the season. In the second half tonight we used McDonald’s energy to lock down on them in the midfield,” Shubnell said.
Edwardsburg at Lakeshore
The Eddies were blanked by host Lakeshore in the Division 2 District semifinals Wednesday night, 8-0.
Emily Lockman had four goals for the Lancers, while Isabella Ceru scored a pair of goals. Nadia Beran and Olivia Smith also found the back of the net.
Hannah Lamphier had 13 saves for Edwardsburg, which finishes the year at 8-9-2.