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BOYS SOCCER DISTRICT NOTEBOOK: Clarkston pulls another upset of Adams, Utica Ford shocks unbeaten, No. 1 Athens

By: Dan Stickradt, October 23, 2018, 11:10 am

Clarkston is redefining the term that the state tournament is “a new season.”

The Wolves, who graduated a combined 27 players the past two seasons, came out of the pack to win the Oxford district last week with a 2-0 upset of Rochester Adams in the district finals.

It marked the fifth time in 20 seasons, including the third straight season, that Clarkston upset Adams in the state tournament.

The Wolves entered the postseason with only three wins but improved to 6-9-3 with the three district wins.

“All of our losses were one-goal losses,” offered first-year Clarkston coach Ian Jones. “It’s not like we were getting blown out by teams. All of our games have been twice. We have been competitive all season.”

Junior midfielder Ethan Wise scored the eventual game-winner on a wicked shot. Picking up a loose ball some 35 yards out, he one-timed a knuckling shot that the curled back into the frame and reached the upper 90 in the sixth minute.

Senior goalkeeper Noah Bridgeman, an All-State Honorable Mention performer last season, recorded his third clean sheet of the tournament.

The Wolves’ reward? Facing defending state champion Novi Detroit Catholic Central in the regional semifinals Tuesday. CC defeated Clarkston 1-0 early in the season.

 

UTICA FORD PULLS SHOCKER VS. NO. 1 TROY ATHENS

Utica Ford pulled a thrilling 1-0 upset of previously-unbeaten Troy Athens in the district finals, defeating a team that carried a 21-0-0 record and only six goals against into the district title match.

Goalkeeper Jeremy Taras made “three huge saves in the first half. If they scored on one or two of them, then the floodgates might have opened,” said Ford coach Teri Steinwascher. “We had the wind at our backs in the second half, which helped. We actually created some chances in the second half.”

Mateo Gjurashaj scored the game-winner with just under two minutes left in regulation on a wild goal-mouth scrum following a free kick for Ford (10-8-1).

The Falcons, the fifth-place finisher in the MAC Red Division this season, will take on MAC Red champ Utica Eisenhower in the regional semifinals — a team that defeated Ford twice in the regular season.

 

BIG-TIME MATCHUP

All eyes will be at Mattawan for Tuesday’s regional semifinals for a pair of teams that have been considered to be two of the favorites all season.

Second-ranked Grand Rapids Christian (21-1-0) will face No. 3 Marshall (23-0-1). The two have spent virtually the entire season in those slots in the coaches association polls and have loaded rosters.

 

T-B ESCAPES

Temperance Bedford captured a rare district title last week with three wins, including upsetting district favorite Woodhaven (2-1) in the pre-district, Southgate Anderson (4-0) and Taylor (2-0) in the district finals.

Bedford (10-7-1) takes its hopes into the regional finals against Dearborn (18-3-2).

 

HOLT PULLS SURPRISE

Holt was nowhere near the top 10 throughout the season, but this team is apparently underrated. The Rams escaped one of the state’s top districts with a 1-0 victory over Jackson in the district title match.

 

Sophomore goalkeeper Zac Kelly is earning a reputation of being one of the state’s top netminders  regardless of division and has helped his team quietly chalk up a 13-4-2 record entering its regional semifinals game against Hudsonville.

 

SOMETHING IN THE WATER IN LELAND

In recent years, Leland has been a mainstay in the Division 4 Top 20. This season, the No. 2-ranked Comets have posted some impressive numbers not only with a 20-1-3 record, but with 144-17 scoring edge and 14 shoutouts entering the regional week.

Leland has not lost since its second game of the Leland Invitational back on Aug. 18, a 2-0 setback to Division 2 Cadillac. The Comets ended up tying Cadillac two weeks later.

Senior midfielder Cobe Lund leads Leland with 41 goals and 18 assists. Junior Owen Karick and senior Colin Satterwaite anchor the back, along with senior Andy Mosqueda, who shifted from goalkeeper to marking back this season. Sophomore Gavin Miller has the 14 shutouts entering regional week, as the Comets picked up three clean sheets in district play behind a 21-0 scoring barrage.

Junior forward Michael Roberts (19 goals, five assists), senior midfielders Nick Safel (14-9) and Jack Munoz (15-8) and junior midfielders Andre Masse (14-8) and Jesus Calderon-Balcazar (13-13) have aided a balanced offense and one of the state’s top offensive machines.

“If there is something in the water, then I would like to know what it is,” joked Leland coach Joe Burda. “Honestly, we just have a team of soccer players, kids that play club and understand the game.”

Leland reached the semifinals in 2012, but this could be the school’s best team.

“I think, player-for-player, and all the positions considered, this is probably our best team,” added Burda. “We just have to keep going out there and play our game. It would be nice to make a run (to the finals).”

The last Division 4 school from the Traverse City area to win a state title was Elk Rapids in 1997 and 1998. Elk Rapids is now one of the top teams in Division 3.

 

SCORING BINGE

Brooklyn Columbia Central senior Micah Sonnenberg is now in the record books as the fifth leading scorer all-time in Michigan and also stands fifth for goals in a season with 68 tallies this year.

He has led Columbia Central (19-4-0) to back-to-back district titles for the first time in school history.

Sonnenberg is being courted by several D-I and D-II schools. Ironically, he mostly plays outside back with his club team, the Novi-based Michigan Jaguars.

 

HAMTRAMCK ALIVE

Last season, Hamtramck reported that it had used some ineligible players during its district championship run.

Now, the Cosmos made sure their results stood strong by winning three games last week.

Hamtramck carries a 15-2-1 record into its regional semifinal game Tuesday against Tecumseh (14-4-4).

 

DOWAGIAC ON SOCCER MAP

Dowagiac Union is not a traditional power in boys soccer, but the school has won back-to-back district titles for the first time and three districts in nine seasons.

Dowagiac owns a 15-6-2 record and now has the daunting task of facing perennial powerhouse and second-ranked Hudsonville Unity Christian in its regional semifinal Wednesday at Otsego.

Juniors Cristian Wilson and Ben McCrorey lead the Chieftains on offense. Junior goalkeeper Victor Zavala has been solid between the pipes, while senior Edgar Bravo anchors the back line.

 

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STATE CHAMPS REGIONAL PREDICTIONS

DIVISION 1

Region 3 at Sterling Heights Stevenson: Utica Eisenhower 3, Utica Ford 2 (OT); Berkley 2, Warren DeLaSalle 1

Finals: Berkley 3, Utica Eisenhower 2

 

Region 2 at Dearborn Edsel Ford: Dearborn 3, Temperance-Bedford 1; Ann Arbor Skyline 2, Canton (OT);

Finals: Ann Arbor Skyline 2, Dearborn 1

 

Region 4 at Grand Blanc: Brighton 3, Grand Blanc 1; Novi Detroit Catholic Central 3, Clarkston 0

Finals: Novi Detroit Catholic Central 2, Brighton 1

 

 

DIVISION 2

Region 7 at Ortonville Brandon: Dexter 2, Goodrich 1 (OT); Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood 3, Fenton 1

Finals: Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood 3, Dexter 2

 

Region 6 at Birmingham Detroit Country Day: Detroit Country Day 3, Melvindale 1; Hamtramck 3,  Tecumseh 2 (OT)

Finals: Detroit Country Day 3, Hamtramck 1

 

Region 8 at Cedar Springs: Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 4, Petoskey 0; Haslett 2, Spring Lake 0

Finals: Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern 3, Haslett 1

 

Region 5 at Mattawan: Grand Rapids Christian 2, Marshall 1 (OT); Stevensville-Lakeshore 3, Richland- Gull Lake 2

Finals: Grand Rapids Christian 3, Stevensville-Lakeshore 1

 

 

DIVISION 3

Region 11 at Chesaning: Freeland 4, Lake Fenton 1; Macomb Lutheran North 3, Birch Run 1

Finals: Freeland 2, Macomb Lutheran North 1

 

Region 10 at Williamston: Brooklyn Columbia Central 4, Clawson 2; Grosse Ile 2, Lansing Catholic 1

Finals: Grosse Ile 3, Brooklyn Columbia Central 1

 

Region 12 at Clare:  Elk Rapids 3, Ludington 2 (OT); Muskegon Orchard View 2, West Branch Ogemaw Heights 1

Finals: Elk Rapids 3, Muskegon Orchard View 1

 

Region 9 at Otsego: Paw Paw 3, Grand Rapids West Michigan Aviation Academy 1; Hudsonville Unity Christian 4, Dowagiac Union 1

Finals: Hudsonville Unity Christian 3, Paw Paw 1

 

 

DIVISION 4

Region 15 at Lansing Christian: Burton Genseee Christian 3, New Haven 1; Birmingham Roeper 2, Bad Axe 1 (OT)

Finals: Burton Genseee Christian 2, Birmingham Roeper 1

 

Region 14 at Madison Heights Bishop Foley: Ann Arbor Greenhills 3, Grosse Pointe Woods University-Liggett 2 (OT); Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 2, Adrian Lenawee Christian 1

Finals: Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 2, Ann Arbor Greenhills 1 (SO)

 

Region 16 at Cadillac: Leland 4, McBain Northern Michigan Christian 1; Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 2, Adrian Lenawee Christian 1 (OT)

Finals: Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 2, Ann Arbor Greenhills 1 (SO)

 

Region 13 at Portage Northern: Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic 3, Hartford 2; Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 2, Marcellus Howardsville Christian 0

Finals: Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic 3, Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian 1

 

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MICHIGAN ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS STATE SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE

DIVISION I

Tuesday, Oct. 23: No. 4 Rochester Hills Christian vs. No. 1 Troy Bethany Christian; No. 3 Midland Calvary Baptist vs. No. 2 Clinton Twp. Faith Christian

Saturday, Oct. 27: Finals, TBA

 

DIVISION II

Tuesday, Oct. 23: No. 5 Wixom Christian vs. No. 1 Waterford Oakdale Christian; No. 3 Athens Factoryville Christian vs. No. 2 Vassar Juanita Christian

Saturday, Oct. 27: Finals, TBA

 

(Dan Stickradt is a 25-year veteran sports writer in Michigan who covers soccer for the State Champs Network. He can be reached via email at [email protected] Follow on Twitter @LocalSportsFans)