BY DAN STICKRADT
ROCHESTER HILLS — It’s hard to even fathom that a Rochester-Rochester Adams boys soccer match not having much meaning on the big scale.
With the OAA Red Division title already decided last week — Troy Athens clinched the title — there was no league glory on the line. And with the two arch-rivals already set to play a third time next week for a rubber match, Tuesday’s game was more of a sense of pride game than anything else.
Rochester gained some of that pride back.
After losing to Adams, 2-0, in mid-September, the Falcons gained a measure of revenge on the Highlanders, clipping their guests, 2-1, in the OAA-Red finale for both teams.
Adams and Rochester will tangle again at the same time and place next Tuesday, but with much higher stakes. The game will be a Division 1 pre-district opener as part of a brutally-tough seven-school district that features seven high-caliber teams.
“The last 2.5 half weeks we’ve been playing better,” admitted Rochester coach Chris Purgatori, whose team opened the season as the league favorite but ventured through a regular season of injuries and five red cards and failed to reach expectations. “We’ve done a better job in practice and it has showed on the field the past couple of weeks. I think we’re starting to peak at the right time. Beating Adams still means a lot. It’s a good way to prepare for the district.”
With his team up 1-0, Rochester freshman Luke Deel scored his first career varsity goal to help the Falcons (8-6-0, 5-2-0) beat Adams for the first time in four years years. The game-winner also clinched at least a tie for second place in the eight-school OAA-Red for Rochester.
Deel’s game-breaker upped the ante to 2-0. He collected a loose ball and fired in a laser from 30 yards out the banged off the crossbar and fell over the line.
Rochester, which has now won four straight games finally broke the 0-0 stalemate with 37:35 left in the second half, when junior Thomas Forde was left all alone near the far post and he corralled a long cross from junior Spiro Gilakos and fired in a shot from 10 yards out.
Following Deel’s tally, Adams trimmed the deficit down to 2-1 with 12:45 left. Zack Limb sent a low cross through the crease and sophomore Jestin Wasen was there from 10 yards out to redirect the ball into the back of the net.
It was Wasen’s first goal of his varsity career.
“It was nice to see him get that goal,” said Adams Josh Hickey, who was not disappointed in his team’s loss. “It was a good game. They just had those two quick goals and that was the difference. We did a nice job coming back and we had some (late) chances. We just didn’t net the equalizer.”
Adams finishes the regular season 7-5-6 overall and 2-3-2 in the regular season. The Highlanders are idle until next week’s district opener at Rochester.
Rochester outshot Adams by a 9-8 count, including 7-5 with shots directly on goal.
To submit information to www.northoaklandsports.com, e-mail email@example.com. To advertise, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow us on Twitter @LocalSportsFans and more than a dozen other social media networks.
FOR MORE SOCCER COVERAGE: http://northoaklandsports.com/?s=soccer&x=0&y=0
Have photos or video of this event that you wish to share? E-mail pertinent information to www.northoaklandsports.com Senior Editor Dan Stickradt at email@example.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org