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Triple crown: St. Clair soccer snags another district title

The St. Clair girls soccer team has become one of the top teams in the state, and now, the Saints will have another opportunity to prove just that.

“They’ve been excellent. All six of them have been on the team since their freshman year, three of them are captains this year. They’ve just helped move us up a bit as far as our level of play, pushed us over the top,” head coach Cliff Freeland said of his seniors. “I feel like we’re one of the elite programs in the state in Division 2 and I feel like we can play with anybody.”

St. Clair's Tessa Freeland dribbles the ball against Cros-Lex on Tuesday.

One of those seniors is Kennedy Hollerbach. She led the Saints with five goals and two assists last night against Imlay City en route to the Division 2, District 25 title – for the third consecutive time.

“It’s a pretty cool experience and memory to have,” Hollerbach said. “It’s not something we’ve done before, so it feels pretty good to have done my part as a senior.”

She was determined it wouldn’t end any other way. Despite being sick and playing in the 80-degree weather, Hollerbach played one of her best games, leaving no doubt about her love for her team and the sport.

“I just have a passion for it and I really love playing with my teammates. I love having that team chemistry and working together with people and accomplishing goals, like winning districts, and just getting better together,” she said with a hoarse voice. “I love the competition and striving to be better every day.”

Freshman Lilah Cron and sophomores Gwen Salisbury and Allie Komarowski each had one goal as well, securing St. Clair’s 8-1 victory. Jessica Peters scored the lone goal for Imlay City.

After leading 4-1 at the half, Freeland said he thought his team had an especially strong start to the second half with quick goals, which is a trend he’s noticed all season.

“We are a second-half team. I thought we had a really good first half, I just thought the last seven to 10 minutes we got a little tired, which normally doens’t happen with us,” he said. “I thought in the second half they came out in the first 15 minutes very similar to the Cros-Lex game [Tuesday’s semifinal] and dominated possession and got a couple more quick goals.

“We put a lot of time and effort into our conditioning. We usually start the first of January and we work really hard at it.”

And clearly, it’s paying off.

Now at 14-2-1, the district-winning, 15th-ranked Saints will play Goodrich in the regional semifinal. These two teams saw each other in the district championship back in 2021 when the Saints won 5-4 in overtime.

“They play a lot like us,” Freeland said of Goodrich. “They’re very aggressive and they work really hard so I’m sure they’ll be a great opponent.”

The game is scheduled for Tuesday, June 6, at 5 p.m. at Linden High School.


For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli

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