Dakota boys soccer out to repeat as MAC Blue champs
September 18, 2013
STERLING HEIGHTS — Macomb Dakota boys soccer coach Stefano Moraccini said he thinks his squad is playing very well to start the 2013 campaign.
“When you come back after playing with your travel teams, it takes a while to get used to each other because the play is a lot different from high school soccer,” said Moraccini, whose team had a mark of 6-1-0, 3-0-0 Macomb Area Conference Blue Division at press time.
“The boys are doing a good job of communicating with one another, possessing the ball and making sure we keep possession of it and finishing. So we’re off to a good start. Hopefully, we can keep it up and continue the quest to win another MAC Blue (championship).”
Moraccini guided the Cougars to a MAC Blue title in 2012. Dakota finished second in league play in 2010 and 2011.
The Cougars’ coach believes he has the personnel to lead the program to back-to-back division titles. Although Dakota lost five seniors from last year’s group, this year’s 21-man roster features 12 seniors. Moraccini said he maintained his core group of players, including senior forward/midfielder Pasquale Madonna, senior defenseman Drew Jacobs, senior defenseman Alex Bozinovski and junior goalkeeper Edward Becker.
“There’s so many leaders on this team,” Moraccini said Sept. 11. “It’s a good luxury to have.”
That luxury, Moraccini said, will play a big role in how the Cougars finish in the MAC Blue.
Madonna said the team must continue to work hard, especially in practice. The senior also said Dakota has exhibited great chemistry early on, adding that attribute will aid the team this season.
“But we’ve got to make sure we (score goals) this season,” said Madonna, in his third year with the Cougars’ varsity team. “We play great as a team. We communicate and move the ball around really well. At the end of that, we just need to pop the ball in the net.”
Moraccini said he believes the MAC Blue will be very good. He said the league includes a number of solid teams, including St. Clair Shores Lake Shore, which shared the MAC Blue title with Dakota last season.
Moraccini said staying in attack mode is key for his team. He also wants to limit shots on goal and breakdowns on defense. Defensive breakdowns, Moraccini said, are what cost the Cougars their season in a 3-2 loss to Macomb L’Anse Creuse North in the 2012 Michigan High School Athletic Association district playoffs.
“We’ll have to keep our composure and play our game. Sometimes, the kids come and they just kick at the ball. That’s not what we’re looking for,” Moraccini said. “We’re looking to maintain ball possession. If we maintain ball possession and (score), the outcomes are usually favorable, but unfortunately, you do that and sometimes you lose games.”
Dakota next hits the field for a road matchup against MAC Blue foe Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse (4-3-0, 1-2-0 MAC Blue). Game time is 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20.