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BOYS SOCCER: Rochester stuns Stoney Creek to win first district title since 2007

| October 22, 2016 | Comments (0)

BY DAN STICKRADT

CORRESPONDENT

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

Twitter: @LocalSportsFans

ROCHESTER HILLS — Social media can serve as a platform of motivation to the opposition when athletes and parents talk trash and somewhat guarantee victory in a high stakes game.

Rochester caught wind of such chants and served noticed that the Falcons are far from a “junior-varsity B program.”

With some Rodney Dangerfield “can’t get no respect” attitude, Rochester captured its first district title since 2007, upending 12th-ranked Rochester Stoney Creek, 2-1, in a physical Division 1 district final Saturday at Rochester Adams.

“We saw some bulliten-board material so to speak,” smiled Rochester coach Chris Purgatori. “At the beginning of the year, we set our goals and we fell a little short with the league. But we knew we had the district ahead of us and you play with a little chip on your shoulder when no one believes that you can do it. These boys have overcome adversity. They played with fire and intensity.”

The much-improved Falcons advance to the regional semifinals Oct. 25 at Rochester Stoney Creek, where they will face Hartland (13-4-3) at 7 p.m.

“The (improvement) has been incredible and all the credit goes to the boys. Their off-season workouts, their willingness to participate and do he extra work,” said Purgatori. “This is a family and it finally paid off.”

Rochester (13-3-5) opened the scoring when senior Daniel Iyok converted a penalty kick with 25 minutes to go in the first half. Teammate Grant Ellison was ripped down in the penalty box chasing down the ball, which set up the goal.

Rochester, which has allowed just 17 goals over 21 games, good for an 0.81 team goals-against-average, withstood pressure throughout the game and waited for the counterattack.

The Falcons made it 2-0 with 9:21 remaining in the second half on a give-and-go play, with senior Demitri Pliakos ripping home a shot from 16 yards out after a feed from junior Sid Osborn.

Rochester senior goalkeeper Brad Carlson, who finished with 12 saves, stopped a penalty kick with 5:54 left — the second straight game he has stopped a PK in clutch. He dove right to thwart Stoney Creek senior Matt Turcotte.

“These boys, we were on a mission, a business trip,” offers Carlson. “We noticed (the trash talk) a little bit and if anything, it’s all motivation a little bit for us. We’ve been waiting a long time with our (district) drought.”

The Cougars (15-4-4) finally caught a break when Turcotte’s swirling free kick into the box was deflected downward by Carlson. In the midst of the ensuing wild goal-mouth scramble, junior Michael Melaragni booted home his Oakland County-leading 29th goal of the season with 2:22 to go, which cut the deficit down to one goal.

Stoney Creek could not net the equalizer.

The Cougars held a 14-8 shots edge, including 13-5 with shots on frame, while both teams attempted six cornerkicks.

Stoney Creek coach Adam Bican noticed Rochester played with a little more inspiration this time around. The Cougars defeated Rochester 4-1 and 3-0 in the regular season and were just one of two schools to defeat the Falcons this fall.

“Absolutely they did and we expected them to come out and be in this game,” said Bican. “What I didn’t like was the penalty kick. It was a mental lapse on our part, but they called it even though the player was not in the play. You spot a team a goal like that — it’s the state tournament and you knew they were going to lock it down.”

The last time the two teams met in a district final was 2005, when Rochester captured a 1-0 victory.

The Falcons now own district titles in 1990, 1992, 2005, 2007 and 2016.

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Category: Featured Articles, High School, High School (M-Z), Most Recently Updated Stories, NOS reference, Prep Wraps, Rochester, Rochester Stoney Creek, Soccer, Top Stories, Uncategorized

About Dan Stickradt: DAN STICKRADT | SENIOR EDITOR dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com View author profile.

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