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Rochester Hills

September 19, 2012

OAA Red and playoff district motivate Stoney Creek soccer

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Stoney keeper Matt Houghton brings a shot in during a scoreless tie with Farmington High last week. The Cougars have set season goals on league and district titles.

FARMINGTON — The focus remains on the here and now — the daily tasks involved with improvement, whether it’s a regular practice or another Oakland Activities Association game.

That’s what Adam Bican has stressed with his Rochester Hills Stoney Creek soccer team.

At this point in the season, it’s worked masterfully.

As his players warmed up for a Sept. 11 game at Farmington High, Bican stood behind the bench, watching the junior varsity cruise to a lopsided win while speaking about his current group of guys on the varsity roster.

“With 13 seniors, 10 of which are three-year players, there’s a lot of experience and a lot of leadership,” he explains. “We came into the season with some pretty big expectations for this group, and they’ve held up their end of the bargain so far. We’ve played a tough schedule, been a part of some very tough tournaments, and we’ve held our own through all of it.”

An 8-1-5 record at press time confirms that.

Allowing just nine goals all season while putting together five shutouts highlights the dominance.

But will it be enough to win the tough OAA Red and then advance through a district that some, including Troy Athens coach Todd Heugh, consider the best in the state.

“They’re going to be battles of attrition,” Bican said of the Red Division and his district bracket, which includes Troy High, Athens, Rochester, Rochester Adams, Utica High and Utica Eisenhower.

“It’d be an honor to win the Red, just because of how strong it is. Whatever team wins our district, they may have an easier road moving forward.”

Now the plan centers on making sure it’s his team.

“For a lot of us, this is our last shot,” said senior captain Kyle Turnbull. “When this season started, we expected to be one of the best teams out there. We still feel like we are. Most of us have been playing together for the past 10 years or so. The chemistry is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”

Fellow senior Scott Alampi, the team leader in goals and assists with nine each, echoed Turnbull’s assessment, saying the 2012 season has been one he and the rest of the team have been building toward for quite some time.

“I think it started when we were freshmen,” Alampi said. “I remember being there when something like 30 kids came out for the soccer team. It’s like we knew right then that this was going to be a special class.”

Just how special remains to be seen.

Stoney was 1-0-2 in Red play, four points behind Athens (3-0-0), which is plenty of ground to make up but plenty of time to do so.

So, moving forward, what will the keys be?

Aside from health, and certainly a bit of luck along the way in such a competitive division and district, how does one team separate itself from any other?

“You have to be able to adjust, and you have to have intelligent players. I think we have both,” Bican said. “When you play together as long as many of these guys have, there’s an understanding you form. We have to use that to our advantage. They had a great offseason. They’ve played very well this year, and they have a passion for this team and for winning. When you put all that together, it’s a good formula to have.”

Asked whether it’d be good enough, Bican just smiled, saying, “We’re not going to look too far down the line just yet, but the potential is here.”

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