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Madison Heights

May 8, 2013

Bishop Foley soccer aims to maintain strong tradition

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Bishop Foley’s Krista Bui attempts to take control of the ball during a game against Bloomfield Hills Marian April 30. According to coach Aaron Miller, Foley has won 25 district championships, 21 regional titles and 12 state championships in program history.

A strong argument could be made that Bishop Foley girls soccer is the most successful program in the area.

Based on some research that was conducted, according to coach Aaron Miller, it was determined that last year was the 30th anniversary of the program.

In their relatively short history, according to Miller, the Ventures have won 25 district titles, 21 regional championships, made 17 state final appearances and won 12 state titles.

Miller, who took over in 2006, understands the rich tradition of the program, and he believes it is his responsibility, as well as his players’, to help maintain it.

“The program was successful long before I was there,” he said. “When I came in, I was just attempting to continue with a lot of rich history. There’s been a lot to live up to. We’re all living up to a standard. The tradition and history has been built for many years.

“We’ve been blessed with some good talent. We’ve been blessed with great kids that understand the tradition (and) understand everything that comes with being a Bishop Foley soccer player.”

You can count senior Morgan Kuzemka as someone who has an understanding of what comes with putting on a Foley uniform.

“There’s a tradition,” she said. “It’s not just given to us; you have to earn it. As  freshmen, they tell you all the history, everything we have. We have to work hard. We have to uphold that.”

In recent years, the Ventures have done just that, having made five consecutive appearances in the Division 4 state finals, including walking away with a state championship in 2011.

Although at press time Foley was off to a 0-6-3 start, it is the postseason that will primarily determine the success, or lack thereof, of the Ventures’ season. According to Miller, Foley either already has, or will, face four teams ranked in the top 10 of their respective division.

Foley competes in the Catholic League, and he believes the type of opponents his team faces during the regular season is good preparation for the postseason.

“We’ve always played a tough regular-season schedule,” he said. “We’ve always done it with the idea of preparation for the state tournament. It should help us.”

Although Foley graduated 12 players from last year’s team, the Ventures do still have seniors Lauren Cross, Cyndi Claucherty, Amanda Saad, Rachel Stolz and Kuzekmka still in the mix, all of whom Miller said were part of the 2011 state championship team.

Maintaining tradition can be helped along by veterans helping to pass along expectations to younger players, and Cross considers it a responsibility for Foley’s returning players to do just that.

“Being such a young team, the few of us who are upperclassmen, we really try to bring the team together,” she said. “Keep the traditions going and also push the underclassmen to keep working so that they could be where we are now.”

Despite the deep postseason runs Foley has had in recent seasons, Miller understands the challenges that may await the Ventures. Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes defeated Foley in a state semifinal last season and will be in the same district as the Ventures. And even if Foley does make it out of districts, according to Miller, there are other ranked teams Foley may have to face along the way.

Regardless of how this season ends up playing out, Miller is optimistic about Foley’s chances to carry on a strong tradition as the program moves forward.

“I 100 percent believe that,” he said. “(The) school itself is growing again; the athletic department’s growing again. There’s been a lot of interest of young players showing interest in wanting to come to our school. The program’s (going to) start growing again, and we’re very happy for the future. We’re excited to see what happens.”

Foley is next scheduled to be in action at 7 p.m. May 9 against Pontiac Notre Dame Prep at home.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.