GIRLS SOCCER REGIONAL PREVIEW: Adams, Troy know each other all too well; Athens set for clash with Ike
BY DAN STICKRADT
When regional play in girls soccer commences Tuesday night, two familiar programs will face off in a battle of top-10 teams at Lake Orion.
Troy and Rochester Adams know each other all too well, playing at least once every season going back to the early 1980s when the schools added girls soccer.
The Colts and Adams have played each other twice this season, with the two battling to a 1-1 draw on April 12 in OAA Red division play, while the two played again in a non-league friendly on April 26, with the Colts holding a 1-0 upper hand.
Both coaches expect a one-goal game and perhaps even overtime between the two state powerhouse programs, which have both won at least one state championship with numerous final fours between the pair. The clash will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday’s at Lake Orion’s Soccer Stadium.
“It’s like playing one of your rivals, although it’s a friendly, not chippy or dirty, rivalry,” offered third-year Adams coach Aaron Donaghy. “There’s a lot of mutual respect between the two teams.”
The winner will play either unbeaten Midland Dow or Grand Blanc, two other highly-successful programs, in the regional Friday at a site and time to be determined. Those two play Tuesday at Saginaw White Pine Middle School.
“It’s going to be a close game. It always is,” said Troy coach Brian Zawislak, who is in his fourth season with the Colts. “Adams is very well-organized in the back and they have some very talented players in the attack.”
It’s almost as if the two are mirrors of each other:
* Troy is ranked fourth and Adams 10th in the final regular season coaches poll.
* Adams finished second to Troy Athens while Troy was
third in the final OAA Red Division standings.
* Troy has yielded only seven goals with 16 shutouts, while Adams has pitched 13 shutouts and given up only nine goals. Both teams have played a difficult schedule with numerous top 25-caliber teams highlighting the schedule.
* Adams is 15-2-3, while Troy carries a 17-2-2 record into the contest.
* Troy sophomore Alison Holland and Adams senior Jessica Wineke, who will play at Ferris State, are two of the better goalkeepers in the area.
Troy’s offense boasts plenty of speed, led by OAA Red Division goal-scoring champion Irene Young, a junior who has scored 27 goals and committed to Louisville. Phylisha Drayton, Madison Hirsch, Jenn Busk and Erin Farley are four of the others in a very potent offense for Troy that command respect by opposing teams.
“She takes it very seriously,” said Zawislak.”It’s her job to score goals and lead this team. She’s one of the best (pure) goal scorers around.”
Adams will counter with plenty of balance, although junior Kylue Nylen is an explosive midfielder who sets up a multitude of weapons, including senior Macy Houghtlin and juniors Merlin Beckwith and MacKenzie Barber, among others.
“I expect it’s going to be a great game,” said Donaghy, whose team reached the state semifinals for the eighth time last season. “We’re a lot like each other and we always seem to play close games.”
Zawislak feels it will go down to mistakes.
“It will probably go down to what teams makes the fewest mistakes and if you can finish an opportunity on one of those mistakes,” predicted Zawislak. “We’ll make a couple of minor tweaks to see if it makes a difference for us. I expect that it will probably be a one-goal game.”
TROY ATHENS VS. UTICA EISENHOWER: One of the top three teams in the state will go down Tuesday when host Athens will entertain Utica Eisenhower at 6 p.m. Top-ranked Novi and unranked Fraser will play in the other contest, which was moved over to Troy High.
The Athens-Eisenhower title will stay at Athens with a 6 p.m. kickoff. The game time was moved up two hours and the other regional semifinal game was moved over to Troy to accommodate Eisenhower, a senior-laden team which has prom Tuesday night.
Athens enters the game ranked third and playing motivated in veteran Athens coach Tim Storch’s final season with the Red Hawks, who carry a 19-2-0 ledger into the contest.
The Eagles, ranked second, lost to Portage Central in the state finals two years ago and to Grand Blanc in a regional semifinal last season.
While the two did not play each other this season, they do have a common opponent, that being No. 10 Rochester Adams. Eisenhower tied Adams 2-2 in the first week of the season in late March, while Athens downed Adams 1-0 three weeks ago.
There will be a game within a game, as Eisenhower has 10 players that will play in college next season, while Athens has five college-bound stars, led by Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year Olivia Brannon.
WATERFORD OUR LADY OF THE LAKES VS. MARINE CITY CARDINAL MOONEY: Unbeaten Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes-Clarkston Everest Collegiate Unified in only in its fourth season as a program.
The Lakers have had tremendous success so far in that stretch.
WOLL-EC captured its third straight district championship last weekend in a n 8-2 victory over Auburn Hills Oakland Christian. The Lakers are also the top-ranked team in Division 4 and the defending state champions are also undefeated this season and have lost just one game the past two seniors.
This is the third time the two CHSL rivals will face each other this season and sixth in two years.