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Published September 17, 2012

Seniors leading the Roseville boys soccer team

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Roseville High senior midfielder Jacob Cienciera, right, and the Panthers are in the race for the MAC Gold title.

ROSEVILLE — A senior-laden group is guiding the Roseville High boys soccer team to what could be its finest season since 2006, when it posted a 14-5-4 record.

The Panthers (8-2-1, 4-0 Macomb Area Conference Gold Division at press time) have 13 seniors on their 16-man roster. Having that many experienced players has played a big role in Roseville’s success, according to coach Ron Baller.

“Every player comes in ready to work every day,” Baller said. “We’re off to a great start, and we want it to keep going.”

Baller said the defense has led the charge. He said it tightens up during games to provide a safety net for first-year senior goalkeeper Paul Martin, another standout on the team.

Baller added that senior forward Christian Thursam and junior Mark Koliba pace the team offensively, with 14 and 10 goals, respectively, at press time.

“All of our hard work is paying off now,” said Thursam, a captain in his third year with the Roseville boys soccer team. “Being that we have so many seniors, we have to leave everything out on the field.”

“We know this is our last go-round as a group, so we’re going all out,” Martin said.

Baller also touted senior captains Vincenzo Cracchiolo, Mason Mahaffey and Cory Haviland as standouts.

Baller said he knows his group will have to net some timely goals as the season goes along. He understands the competition will toughen as it gets closer to the playoffs.

“We’ve put up a lot of goals against some lesser teams,” Baller said. “We need to learn how to score timely goals, because we won’t be putting up five-six goals many more times this year. Things are about to get tough.”

Even though they recognize the competition is about to get stronger, Baller and his team have a goal to win the MAC Gold. A championship would mark a great turnaround for the program, which has not finished above .500 for its overall record since 2006.

The Panthers have pinpointed a Sept. 21 matchup at Clawson as the game that could decide the division.

“We’re looking at both teams being 6-0 in the Gold when that game comes around,” Baller said. “That’ll give us a chance at the division, which is what we want.”

The Roseville/Clawson matchup is next up for the Panthers. The game kicks off at 4:30 p.m. at Memorial Park in Roseville.


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