A few days before Walled Lake Northern took the field against Brother Rice in a Division 1 regional semifinal June 8, coach Kevin LaPlante was asked to sum up his season.
It didn’t matter at all how the team fared against Rice; he did not hesitate with his answer.
“No question, no question at all, this was the most successful season we’ve ever had,” the second-year skipper said. “We finally got over that hump this year.”
In a big way.
On June 1, Walled Lake Northern beat South Lyon High 7-3 in a district final at home.
It was the first district trophy earned in program history.
“Considering the fact it’s the first, it’s a huge deal,” LaPlante said. “We’ve done so much in trying to take this program to that next level.”
Northern (23-9) won the city title two years in a row, claimed the Kensington Lakes Athletic Association North Division title in 2013, but knew the district was the ultimate statement-maker.
The team beat Brighton High 5-0 in a playoff opener, followed by a 6-1 victory against Walled Lake Western, setting up the historic win against South Lyon.
“The attitude we’ve been working toward is that we can face big teams out there,” LaPlante said. “So, to go out and do this, it was extremely big for the boys and their confidence. Now, this has to be the expectation every year.”
LaPlante said last season’s 25-9 finish was the best ever for the team, until this spring.
“We did so much offseason work. We’ve had two great classes of seniors the past two years,” he explained as reasons for the sudden success. “But maybe the biggest part of all this is winning becoming contagious. Once they got a little taste of winning, you could see the confidence growing.”
The June 8 regional was played after press time.
Eaglets also march on
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s also claimed a district title, winning the D-2 crown with a 3-1 victory against Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.
The Eaglets beat Cranbrook 7-1 in the semifinals after shutting out Bloomfield Hills Andover 4-0 in an opener.
St. Mary’s faced Clawson High in the June 8 Andover regional, played after press time.