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Bloomfield Hills beat No. 1-ranked Northville in shootout for first girls’ state football title

EAST LANSING, Michigan. Of the eight teams that competed in the 2022 Michigan Girls State Football Championship, one was unlike the others.

Bloomfield Hills, in their ninth year of formation from the merger of Andover and Lacer High Schools, were the only team to make their debut in a state championship game, and combined with their No. 12 ranking and a matchup with the top and undefeated Northville. The Black Hawks were just as underdogs as they were on the last weekend of the season.

But none of that mattered on Friday as the Blackhawks stunned the Mustangs with a 2-1 win in the Division 1 state final at DeMartin Stadium in East Lansing.

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“We were definitely underdogs and I feel like a lot of people really had doubts about us,” said Bloomfield Hills senior staffer Ava Badallo. “I mean, aside from our fans, it was really like ‘Bloomfield Goes Away’. Who are they? What can they offer? I think our support system has been really helpful. It helped us a lot because our student section, our boys team, our parents and coaches were there to help and support us all the time and I feel like it just made us want it even more.”

After a scoreless first half, Badallo scored Bloomfield Hills’ only major goal from an assist from Brooke Green with 34 minutes left to rekindle the Black Hawks’ tumultuous fan base.

However, Northville refused to leave quietly as the Mustangs unleashed a flurry of shots on Bloomfield Hills goaltender Jenika Opdal near the 65-minute mark, eventually equalizing with a header from a beautiful corner kick from Lauren Moraitis with 15 minutes left. in regulation.

“After our goal, we were just super pumped and our energy just exploded and stayed there for the next five minutes and then I think we kind of subsided,” Badallo said. “I don’t know if it was energy or just fatigue, but we let them take that corner and then it was like, ‘Boom, goal. We’re connected,” so we really had to bring it back.”

The teams went 1-1 to overtime, where Bloomfield Hills’ Avary Hall almost gave her team a 2-1 lead, but there was an offside whistle seconds before she hit Northville’s diving goaltender Simran Manyan .

A scoreless extra session meant victory in the league match would be decided by each team’s best penalty takers, with the goalkeepers also having a say.

Opdal, the Bloomfield Hills sophomore goaltender, scored in the shootout, stopping two of Northville’s three attempts.

Teammates Drew Martin, Esther Rosette, Emma Merchant and Badallo scored the Black Hawks’ first four shots to seal the win.

“Thank God Jenica made two huge saves because I feel like it gave me a lot more confidence,” said Badallo, who scored the game-tying goal in the shootout. “I knew I needed confidence to hit the bottom left corner and my assistant coach talked to me about it before and said, ‘Relax, be confident and you’ll be fine.’

While the Bloomfield Hills may not have had the championship pedigree of some of the other teams playing the last weekend of the season, they gained a lot of confidence as they went 11-0-3 on Friday.

“I just felt like we really worked together and our girls expected them to be state champions and that belief and that confidence really made a huge difference,” said head coach Alan Zakaria.

“Quiet, we felt like we were the best team in the state,” he added. “Just from the way we played and the conversations we had with other coaches we played with, I think we showed today that we are very deserving state champions.”

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