Sturgis’ boys soccer team didn’t panic when Dexter tied Tuesday’s Division 2 regional semifinal game at 1-1 with less than two seconds to play in the first half. The Trojans buried the game-winning goal nine minutes into the second period and held off Dexter the rest of the way for a 2-1 victory.
A collision with Milan, a 1-0 victor over Battle Creek Central, is set for Thursday at 6 p.m. at Jackson Parkside Middle School. Dexter finished the year 17-5-1.
Junhuel Rubio got things rolling for Sturgis (15-6-1) with a goal, assisted by Jonathan Gonzalez, with 36:35 remaining in the opening frame. Dexter mounted an assault in the closing seconds, with Sturgis keeper Isaac Montoya doing all he could to deflect the barrage. It was a 20-yarder in the top-left corner by Luke Bazick that finally penetrated with 1.8 seconds on the clock.
It didn’t faze the Trojans, and senior Enrique Lopez fired in the winner, which was assisted by Carlos Maldonado.
“This was a ball position match, but we surprised Dexter with an early goal and that gave my players a lot of confidence,” Sturgis coach Luis Olivares said. “They were able to maintain control of the midfield.
“During our halftime break, I told my players that Dexter’s goal should not affect their game plan and that they must remain confident and play with a cool head. And that’s exactly what my team did. They never gave up, played with a cool head and remained focused.”
Nothing exemplified that more than Dexter’s five yellow cards compared to zero for Sturgis.
The Dreadnaughts had several opportunities in the second half but couldn’t get anything by Montoya, who finished with six saves.