Adams’ Quick Strikes lead the Way!

ROCHESTER HILLS With no clear-cut favorite in the OAA Red Division boys soccer title chase this season, every point will be crucial for those schools entertaining thoughts of capturing the coveted crown.

Rochester Adams picked up three of those early-season points over Lake Orion, last year’s league runner-up, on Tuesday, scoring a pair of second-half goals in a 2-0 shutout of the Dragons.

Senior Justin Kane had a goal and an assist in a span of 1:08 early in the second half, and that proved to be all of the offense the Highlanders (2-1-1, 1-0-1) needed.

“I told the team right at halftime that this is a game we can win,” said Kane. “We talked about strategies. We wanted to get (the ball) out wide and then come into the center. It just happened. I got a nice header and overall a good goal.

“The second goal was off the long throw,” continued Kane. “That’s something that we started practicing last year, with Jordan Littleson’s long throw. I took his place. I take the long throws and I threw it and Joey (Censoni), the guy we call tree, got a head on it (and Sloan knocked it in).”

Adams finished third in the OAA-Red last season and then caught fire in the postseason. The Highlanders claimed district and regional titles before falling 1-0 in overtime to Birmingham Brother Rice in last year’s Division 1 state semifinals. Over half of that roster departed to graduation.

“We seem to be coming around right now,” offered second-year Adams coach Josh Hickey, who graduated 12 players last season. “There’s a lot of hard work in practice, (that) is what they are doing (differently). They realize from the beginning that they were more fed up (due to the team’s 1-1-1 start) than I was at times. They have been working harder.”

In a contest seemed destined for a tie, Adams finally broke the stalemate with 28:59 left in the contest. Matt Szilard broke free down the right side and his cross from the touch line was headed into the goal at the near post by the wide-open Kane.

Kane set up the insurance tally with 27:51 to play, as his long throw in from the left side one-hopped in the penalty box. Joey Censoni flicked the ball over to Brandon Sloan, who was there to head it home.

Senior Ryan Dzierzawski netted his second league shutout on the season, also keeping Royal Oak off the scoreboard last week in a 0-0 draw. He finished with six saves, including one on a close-range blast with 22:14 left by Yohei Kanehara.

Hickey felt that it would only be a matter of time before his team blended together, considering that there are a dozen new faces on varsity and players that come from a number of different club teams.

“I thought that from the beginning. They have talent, they work hard, but I thought the first couple of games that we played, it was hard for us to get into sync. We moved some people around and I think that we had to get comfortable with each other. It’s happening earlier than it did last year, so I’m happy with that.” READ MORE