Walled Lake Central boys soccer team reaches state finals

By: Mike Moore | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 10, 2017

 Novi Detroit Catholic Central junior Jeswin David (3) tries to keep Walled Lake Central junior K.C. Fegely (12) from the ball. The Shamrocks won the D-1 title by a 1-0 score.

Novi Detroit Catholic Central junior Jeswin David (3) tries to keep Walled Lake Central junior K.C. Fegely (12) from the ball. The Shamrocks won the D-1 title by a 1-0 score.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Walled Lake Central keeper Brian Ostapenko, left, makes a save. The Vikings allowed six goals all season long.

Walled Lake Central keeper Brian Ostapenko, left, makes a save. The Vikings allowed six goals all season long.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

WALLED LAKE — This was not the trophy they came for, and taking it home wouldn’t garner the sort of celebration they had planned.

But on a cool, windy Saturday afternoon, the Walled Lake Central boys soccer team wrapped up one of the best seasons the program has ever known.

“Give us 24 hours, and we’re going to be very proud of what we accomplished,” Vikings coach Joel Sharpe said moments after a 1-0 loss to Novi Detroit Catholic Central in a Nov. 4 Division 1 state final at Rochester Hills Stoney Creek. “These guys brought a community together. They brought together alumni and families. I couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished.”

The teams engaged in a defensive battle the entire afternoon.

Ryan Pierson’s penalty kick with just 6:49 remaining in regulation gave the Shamrocks a 1-0 lead and their first title in program history.

“I guess I really don’t know what to say,” Catholic Central coach Gene Pulice said of the historic win. “It’s taken 39 years in the making, right? So I think the first one definitely is historic and impactful. As a coach, to be able to be the first coach to lead a team to it, it’s impactful for sure. Everybody put it together, came out here and played hard today.”

The Shamrocks closed the fall at 21-2-4.

The game-winning goal was the 32nd on the season for Pierson.

“When you dive in and put someone in the box like that caliber of player, bad things are going to happen,” Sharpe said.

But the Vikings avoided bad things for the majority of 2017.

Central lost its first game of the season and then went on a 22-0-2 run leading into the final game.

The goal in the final was just the sixth the team had given up all season, finishing at 22-2-2 overall.

“They’re a team,” Sharpe said when asked what made this group capable of doing what it did. “They’re a complete team. We had attackers; we had midfielders; we had defenders and goaltending. Maybe we weren’t the best at every level, but when you play together and combine it with how much they care, I think you see why we were successful where some other teams may not have been.”