BY DAN STICKRADT
ROCHESTER HILLS — Fielding a young team, wins have been hard to come by this season for Rochester Adams on the soccer pitch.
The Highlanders gained an important win over one of its rivals Thursday to ease the pain of a uncharacteristic slow start. The Highlanders scored a goal in each half to down visiting Rochester in a contest scheduled as a non-league game.
The two will meet in October in an OAA Red Division battle.
“We’ve been banged up quite a bit, so being able to come back and play a game with all of our guys, it was good. We played well,” smiled Adams coach Josh Hickey. “(Rochester) had some chances too, but we were able to finish ours and that’s been a bit of a struggle (lately) so that was good. We’re playing better in our last couple of games.”
Adams, which is 2-0-1 in its last three games, was far more opportunistic than Rochester, collecting seven shots on frame.
Patrick Spike tallied what proved to be the game-winner with 9:42 left in the first half. AJ Shaw intercepted a pass in the corner and slotted the ball over to Spike, who rifled home a shot from 16 yards out past Rochester goalkeeper Matt Hawes.
The Highlanders had four shots in a matter of two minutes at one point of the second half, and Bryan Kane’s blast from 15 yards was dead on the mark to give Adams the two-goal cushion with 15:59 to play in the contest. Zach Limb set up the tally.
Senior Grant Gibson, thrust into the starting role when the Highlanders’ starter from last season opted to play Academy Soccer, collected two saves for his fourth shutout in nine games.
“He’s come a long ways the past couple of years,” praised Hickey. “He’s been solid for us all season and we have a young defense in front of him.”
Rochester stayed even with Adams, as both teams traded off 10 shots. But the Falcons could only muster two shots on frame despite six cornerkicks and several dangerous crosses into the penalty box.
“We just didn’t execute at all tonight,” offered Rochester coach Chris Purgatori, whose team has lost three of its last four games. “We weren’t energized from the get-go and I could tell that from the first kickoff. We just didn’t have energy and that’s on me. I have to prepare them better.
“We had a lot of chances and were dangerous, but we didn’t do anything with them,” added Purgatori. “We played so good against Troy the other night. But today we didn’t play with much energy until the last 15-20 minutes.”
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