Adams Soccer Ties Rochester 1-1

ROCHESTER HILLS — As rivalries go, epic clashes are more common than not when it comes to Rochester Adams and Rochester.

Over the years on the soccer pitch — this is the 30th school year that soccer has been played in Rochester — there have been numerous one-goal games, overtime thrillers and ties and only a few lopsided contests.

The two have even met in the postseason on several occasions.

When the two resumed the rivalry Thursday on the turf at Rochester, neither side could gain the upper hand, as the two settled for a 1-1 OAA Red Division draw. The two will play in two weeks in a non-league game as well.

Rochester scored in the fifth minute and Adams returned the favor in the 52nd minute to account for the game’s scoring in a game played with a strong wind to the south.

Both teams traded off three shots each in the opening 40 minutes, with Rochester playing with great emotion during that span, which led to its 1-0 at the half.

“I really liked the way we came out. We were aggressive, played with a lot of emotion and we were able to score a quick goal,” said Rochester coach Chris Purgatori. “I thought we played pretty even with them in the first half.”

Rochester (3-2-4, 0-0-3) scored first only 4:56 into the game, catching the Highlanders’ defense napping. Neil Harris lofted a free kick into the penalty box from 40 yards out and Matt Brady was there to head home the shot at the far post.

The Falcons held firm for the remainder of the half but saw Adams mount some serious pressure during the final 40 minutes.

Adams finally broke through with 28:53 remaining, when Ryan Robbins knocked home a rebound following his own shot on a breakaway, where Rochester goalkeeper Chris Stewart made the initial save.

Adams, which held an 11-2 shots edge in the second half, used the wind at their backs and some fine possession passing as an aid to keep pressure on the Falcons’ end of the field.

“I didn’t think about the wind at all,” said Adams coach Josh Hickey, somewhat disappointed in his team’s lackadaisical play in much of the first half. “It was more their mentality of where they came from the beginning of the game until the end. I was more concerned about attitudes and desire to win more than anything.”

Adams kept the same lineup in the second half, where the Highlanders played with more urgency and passion.

“In the second half, I think they picked it up and that translated (to their play) on the field,” added Hickey, whose team moved to 4-3-3 overall, 1-1-2 in the league.

Despite playing under consistent pressure in the second half, Rochester still only surrendered one goal. The Highlanders did almost win the game with 38 seconds left, but Cameron Casey’s cross into the box just missed a couple of Adams forwards on the rush.

“I think part of it was Adams and part of it was the wind,” said Rochester coach Chris Purgatori. “But I don’t mind saying it, but our goalkeeper, Chris Stewart, is one the best goalies in the state. He made a couple more great saves tonight. He and (sophomore sweeper) Miles Dale were great back there. Miles is a rock. He’s playing out of position. He scored 12 goals as a freshman playing forward. Together, they do a great job in the back.”

Stewart finished the game with eight saves for Rochester, while counterpart Nathan Kudla had two saves for Adams.

The Highlanders outshot Rochester 13-5 for the game, including 9-3 with shots directly on goal.