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November 7, 2012

Memorable season for Cranbrook soccer ends in state semifinals

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Memorable season for Cranbrook soccer ends in state semifinals
Cranbrook goalie Alex Roed jumps to make a save during the district finals. Cranbrook made it to the D-2 semifinals before falling to Petoskey.

Chad O’Kulich will never be convinced his 2012 soccer team wasn’t good enough to be a state champ.

From the start of the season on, O’Kulich watched as his Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood squad rolled past opponent after opponent, sneaking up on some while leaping over and past others.

In the end, 17 wins and a playoff run many won’t soon forget remained as O’Kulich looked back on it all.

“Our guys came ready to play every single day,” he said of the fall season, which ended Oct. 31 in a 3-1 Division 2 semifinal loss to Petoskey High. “I’m so happy with how the kids played. They left everything on the field. We just had some bad luck, and (Petoskey) capitalized on their corner kicks.”

The game, played at Midland High, was back and forth most of the night, but as O’Kulich said, momentum seemed to belong to whoever had the wind at their back.

In the first half, that was the Cranes, who generated a number of chances in the opening 40 minutes.

Constantin Kirberger scored on a penalty kick five minutes into regulation.

Petoskey evened things 10 minutes later and took the game to halftime at 1-1.

With the wind at its back in the second, though, Petoskey took the lead on a corner kick 90 seconds into the frame.

Another corner kick with 15 minutes remaining gave the Northmen their third goal, and essentially ended the semifinal.

“We had enough chances to win,” O’Kulich added, noting his team hit the crossbar once and the post on another shot. “We just didn’t cash in enough.”

Still, one loss wasn’t going to shake the foundation of a great season.

Cranbrook ended the year 17-3-2 and won a district title at home for the first time ever.

“I saw the potential for a great year as soon as we started,” O’Kulich said. “I think we shocked a lot of teams. I think we were overlooked a bit, but our guys came ready to play. … This was a year these guys will never forget. For the alums, the families and the program itself, there is so much to be proud of.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.