BOYS SOCCER: Troy Bethany Christian going for third MACS title in six years | North Oakland Sports

BOYS SOCCER: Troy Bethany Christian going for third MACS title in six years

| October 30, 2015 | Comments (0)



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TROY — Troy Bethany Christian is currently in defensive mode — as in trying to defend its title.

The Bruins, the defending Michigan Association of Christian Schools Division I boys soccer state champions, are one win away from its second straight crown, third in six years and fourth overall in school history.

Bethany Christian won titles in 1985, 2010 and 2014. The Bruins will face top-ranked clinton Township Faith Christian at 1 p.m. Saturday at Clarkston Springfield Christian High School.

The two split  in FBAC Red Division play during the regular season.

This year, the Bruins (13-2-0) have outscored its previous two postseason opponents by a 12-0 count, and avenging one of its two losses along the way.

Bethany Christian blanked Bridgeport Baptist 8-0, then came back in the state semifinals to post a 4-0 clean sheet against Temperance Stateline Christian.

Stateline defeated Bethany 4-3 back in early September. The Bruins’ other loss was also early in the season, 4-1 against Faith Christian.

“Don’t get me wrong. They are both good teams,” admitted Bethany Christian coach Phil Fougere of Stateline and Faith Christian. “But we had injuries in our losses and didn’t have everyone. We’re looking forward to bringing our full lineup. We’ll be ready.”

The Bruins are solid all over the field, and have two solid goalkeepers this season. Senior Casey Smith began the season as the No. 1 keeper, but a bout with turf toe sidelined him for a few weeks. Freshman brother Conner Smith has been a solid understudy and is “our best keeper at his age that we’ve had here in a long time,” noted Fougere.

Seniors Brodie Hayhurst and Michael Green, who handles most of the team’s restarts, anchor the back, along with junior Tim Blake, senior Matt Tremper and juniors Luke Penley and Jonathon Rogers. Blake and Tremper also play in the midfield.

Freshman Nicholas Thomas, who brings plenty of club soccer pedigree and soccer IQ to the Bruins’ midfield, steadies the attack. Senior JT Bishop, who has 15 goals this season, has emerged as a quality No. 2 scorer.

Junior Zach Goldsmith is the team’s top sniper, collecting 33 goals this season and 37 last year to move solidly into the Bruins’ top-10 career scoring list. Sophomore Nico Thomas has chipped in with nine goals on the campaign, while sophomore Josh Mansour and freshman Dylan Shram have also gained plenty of minutes in the midfield. 

Under Fougere, Bethany Christian has consistently fielded a winner in his 12 seasons. The Bruins have finished first of second in the Fundamental Baptist Athletic Conference every season during the past dozen years.

Bethany Christian also reached the state semifinals in both 2011 and 2012, while the Bruins were upset in the quarterfinals in 2012 — and in each year they lost to the eventual state champs.

The 2011 loss came in a 3-2 shootout to Davison Faith Baptist, the 2012 semifinals exit was a 2-0 setback to rival Rochester Hills Christian (2-0), while the the 2013 quarterfinals exit came from a 3-2 overtime knockout from Midland Calvary Baptist.

The team is averaging 5.0 goals and outing and have yielded 1.3 goals a game The Bruins are peaking at the right time.

“We are playing much better soccer than we were at the beginning of the season,” noted Fougere. “We(shared) the league title and I think we’ve won something like eight of the past 10. But one of goals is to repeat as state champions. We just have to avenge our losses this season.”soccer - slide tackle closeup

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