DeFinis’ late goal lift Clarkston past previously-unbeaten Rochester
ROCHESTER HILLS — Joey Difinis had a chance to do something his father did several times back in the 1980s: Score a goal on Rochester’s field.
The only difference for the younger generation Definis is that he is a sophomore sniper on Clarkston boys soccer team. His father, Mike Definis, graduated in 1987 from Rochester, where he was an all-league soccer player during his senior season in the fall of 1986. Joey Definis scored a clutch goal in the 73rd minute Wednesday as Clarkston posted a 2-1 OAA Red Division victory over the previously unbeaten Falcons. Both teams were honorable mention in the Division 1 polls, released Tuesday.
“I’ve scored a game-winner before, but not in the final minutes,” said Definis, barely onside on the play. "I made a crossing run in and (Ryan Mangapora) played a perfect ball in. The goalie was flat-footed, so I put it right by him," added DeFinis of the game-winner. “It was nice to come through (for my team).”
Clarkston (5-3-0, 2-1-0) played the final 51 minutes up a man after Rochester (4-1-0, 1-1-0) lost a player to a red card for arguing a call. Still, the Wolves were outplayed for long stretches of the second half until DeFinis came through the decisive goal. “When we have an extra guy, they shouldn’t even be in our end of the field," said Clarkston coach Chuck Lawhorn said of the second half. "In the first 10 minutes, (Rochester) definitely maintained possession and then we came back and it was pretty even. But when you’re up a man, it can’t be even like that. I thought they had just as many scoring chances as we did.”
Both teams traded off just seven shot attempts in the defensive struggle. Rochester held a 5-4 shots edge in the second half despite playing nearly the final 51 minutes of the game with 10 players. “It’s a different game when you’re down a man — with a different strategy,” offered Rochester coach Chris Purgatori. “I thought we played incredibly well for being down a man, and we had some opportunities, but just weren’t able to finish.”
Following a foul in the box, which resulted in one yellow and the aforementioned red card with 10:32 left in the first half, the Wolves took a 1 -0 lead when Brad Schutlz tucked a penalty kick into the corner of the goal. Rochester was able to knot the score when Chris Mueller headed home a Spiro Pliakos cornerkick with 3:40 to go in the first half.
“I thought we were a little fatigued,” said Purgatori. “I think I should have subbed a few more times (in the second half), but I didn’t. I went with my gut and it didn’t pan out.” (Dan Stickradt is Senior Editor for Digital Daily www.northoaklandsports.com and The Real Deal sports and coupons magazine, as well as a freelance writer for multiple media outlets, including State Champs! High School Sports Show website. He is a 20-year veteran sports journalist based in Oakland County, Mich. He can be reached by email at [email protected] Follow on Twitter @LocalSportsFans.)