Berkley’s move to the Red brings high risk, and possible high reward for 2013

By: Mike Moore | Woodward Talk | Published September 11, 2013

 Berkley’s Julian Fetterman clears the ball from in front of his own net. The Bears were 5 2 at press time.

Berkley’s Julian Fetterman clears the ball from in front of his own net. The Bears were 5 2 at press time.

Photo by Donna Agusti

BERKLEY — A good majority of the team returned, and after winning a division title, they did so with their sights set on winning another.

But if that’s to be the case for the Berkley High soccer team, the bar needs to be raised to a whole new level.

“We’re excited, we really are,” coach Steve Wloszek said last week about the Bears’ move to the Oakland Activities Association Red Division this fall. “To have the chance we do, to play in one of, if not the, best conference in the entire state, is pretty cool.”

Berkley won the OAA White in 2012 with an 8-3-1 mark, and then parlayed that strong finish to a spot in a Division 1 district championship.

Leading 2-0 against Beverly Hills Groves, the Bears seemed destined for a district title, and beyond.

Then, the unthinkable happened.

In the blink of an eye, Berkley’s two-goal lead was gone, and in overtime, the season came to an end.

Wloszek called the 15-5-2 final record, “a great season,” but it certainly left those coming back thirsting for more.

And playing in the Red provides exactly that: more.

“We get to go against the best teams in the state,” senior Zack Segall said. “We’re all looking forward to the challenge of moving up. … I think it will be especially big, come playoff time, having seen these types of teams all season. Even though we reached the (district) final last year, I think we’ll be that much more ready to face some of the best teams this time around.”

In all, 14 varsity players are back in the mix this season, including more than half the starting lineup.

Wloszek called the veteran presence and the experience his roster employs a “huge advantage.”

“Practice, especially, is so much more productive,” he added.

Berkley was 5-2 at press time, 1-1 in Red play.

“When you look at this division, I think anybody can finish anywhere — from first to sixth,” Wloszek said. “I think we can be as good as any team we face.”

“I think we have the potential to be there, to contend for the league title,” said senior Eurick Crayton. “I mean, it can be a good night or a bad night for anyone, but if we play as we can, we have a chance to be a contender in the Red.”

And beyond.

The Bears are once again set to host their D-1 district. And while Wloszek called it one of the toughest in the state, with participants likes Groves, Bloomfield Hills High and Brother Rice, he sees no reason why his team can’t come out on top — as it nearly did in 2012.

“Absolutely, we have a chance,” he said. “We want to put Berkley soccer on the map, and winning the Red would certainly be a big step toward that.”

“This team is very capable of everything we’ve talked about,” Segall said. “Winning the league, making a run in districts, and anything short of a district final would be a disappointment.”