BOYS SOCCER: Adams edges Utica Ford for second straight regional crown

| November 1, 2015 | Comments (0)




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FRASER — In a tightly-contested regional final game, Josh Hickey did not want anyone else to stand between the pipes other than Dylan Brown.

The seventh-year Rochester Adams boys soccer coach does not want anyone else facing a penalty kick against a Mr. Soccer candidate, either.

Brown did that twice Friday afternoon in a Division 1 regional final against Utica Ford.

After yielding one penalty kick goal to Ford’s Javier Steinwascher, Brown stepped up big and dover right to halt Steinwascher’s second PK attempt of the game with 22 minutes remaining and led the third-ranked Highlanders to a 2-1 victory over fourth-ranked Ford at Fraser High School.

“He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the state, for sure. He’s proven that the past couple of years,” said Hickey, who took over the Adams program in 2009. “Dylan makes great saves all the time and he’s incredible on PKs. He’s saves several of them the past two seasons. He was brilliant in our regional finals win over Clarkston last season. For him to go up there and face Steinwascher a second time — and Steinwascher is an amazing player and one of the state’s top players — is amazing. He stepped up big time.”

The win gave Adams (17-6-3) its second straight regional title third in seven years and fifth overall dating back to the school’s first in 1999. The Highlanders have now won regionals in 1999, 2001, 2004, 2014 and 2015.

Adams will face sixth-ranked Plymouth Canton in the D-1 state semifinals at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Rochester  Stoney Creek in a rematch of last year’s state title match. Canton defeated Adams 1-0 last November for the state crown.

Adams, which has played a brutally-tough non-league schedule to go along with the rugged OAA Red Division schedule, built a 1-0 halftime lead.

Sophomore Alex Kim scored on a wild goal-mouth scrum with 13:25 left in the first half. Junior Matthew Lencioni scored what proved to be the game winner when he converted a penalty kick with 33:03 remaining in the contest.

Steinwascher finally got Ford (18-3-1) with 31:01 remaining when he beat Brown on his penalty kick.

“I thought we controlled a lot of the game. But that penalty kick gave Ford some momentum and they created a lot of chances after that point in the second half,” noted Hickey. “Ford is a very dangerous offensive team. They have three attacking players that are very dangerous. I thought our defense did a great job keeping its shape and defending. We held them off in the end. Ford never quit. We knew it would be a very close game.”

Adams reached the regional finals for the third straight season, having lost 1-0 to Traverse City West two years ago. There are several players on this year’s team that have been together for all three deep tournament runs.

“We have great chemistry. These guys have played tougher for a long time. They have fun together and they know what it takes to win at this level,” said Hickey. “Nothing really phases them. They have faced every type of team. Since I’ve been here, we go out and play the toughest schedule as we can by design to prepare us for the tournament. We play in one of gthe best leagues in the state and we’ve played several ranked schools in our non-league games. I think that has a major effect on why we’ve been able to go this far the past couple of years.”


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