BOYS SOCCER: Troy Bethany Christian looks to ascend back on top of MACS | North Oakland Sports

BOYS SOCCER: Troy Bethany Christian looks to ascend back on top of MACS

| October 31, 2014 | Comments (0)




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TROY — After  couple of years away from the perch, Troy Bethany Christian is looking to return to the top of the charts.

The Bruins, the top-ranked team in the Michigan Association of Christian Schools Division I boys soccer polls, are one win away from regaining their title. Bethany Christian won crowns in 1986 and 2010, but have failed to get to the championship match the past three seasons.

The Bruins will carry  21-4-2 ledger into the MACS Division I title game against third-seeded Davison Faith Baptist. The two league rivals will meet at 1 p.m. Saturday at Clarkston Springfield Christian.

Bethany Christian defeated Faith Baptist 2-0 in the 2010 classic, while Faith Baptist edged Troy Bethany in a shootout in the 2011 state semifinals. The Bruins also lost to Rochester Hills Christian (2-0)  in the 2012 semis and lost in overtime in the 2013 state quarterfinals to eventual champion Midland Calvary Baptist (3-2).

“It’s good to be back,” admitted 11th-year Troy Bethany coach Phillip Fougere. “Last year we never had our full starting lineup until right before the tournament. We had so many injuries. When we finally got everyone back, we never had time to really gel.”

This year, despite having three sophomores and a two freshmen in the starting lineup, Bethany Christian has posted another winning campaign. Sophomore transfer Zach Goldsmith has given this team a major boost, as he has collected 33 goals on the campaign, third highest single-season tally in school history.

“He’s only five off the record,” said Fougere. “Adding him into the mix has definitely helped. He has a (knack) for the goal. He knows how to finish. And most of his goals has come from the midfield.”

Senior Brendan Cathers, just one of three senior starters and five 12th-graders on the Bruins’ roster, has been solid on defense, along with junior center back Brodie Hayhurst. Johnny Schlipphak and Tory Hagspihl are other seniors that have contributed.

Junior Casey Smith is a second-year starter in goal and has posted a goals-against-average of a little more than goal a game. Sophomores Luke Pinley and Jonathan Rogers and juniors Michael Green and JT Bishop have aided the midfield.

Another key addition has been freshmen midfielder Nicholas Thomas, who brings plenty of club experience for his age to the front line.

Troy Bethany captured its first FBAC Red Division crown since 2011 this season, after winning six straight conference crowns from 2006-2011. It that stretch the Bruins went undefeated in league play four times.

“This is the best team we’ve had (since 2011) and I think because we still so young, that we might be further along than we were with that group a few years ago in terms of age. We have a lot of young guys,” said Fougere. “

Still, one of the team;s pre-season goals is now a win away from being realized. The Bruins are aiming to finish on top.

“I think it should be a really good game — it usually is when we play Davison,” noted Fougere. “We’ve had a  lot of great games with them since I have been here. They were so dominate for so long, then we started to become a good team again. Rochester Hills (Christian) won it two years ago and Midland (Calvary Baptist) snuck in there and won last year. I think there is a lot of parity this season and we were able to make it back to the finals for the first time since we won it in 2010. We have the talent to do it this season.”

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