Sharpe praises 2012 Vikings and their journey to regional final

By: Mike Moore | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 2, 2012

As complicated as the state soccer playoffs can be, once in a while the simplest thing can determine the outcome of a game.

As he spoke of his team’s final match of the season, that was essentially the story Walled Lake Central coach Joel Sharpe stuck to.

“We had the wind in the first half and we controlled play, but we didn’t capitalize,” he explained. “They had the wind in the second half and took advantage of it.”

Sharpe spoke a few days after his team’s 1-0 loss to Grand Blanc High Oct. 25 in a Division 1 regional final.

“It was the tale of two halves, all depending on who had the wind,” Sharpe added with a laugh. “I give them credit. They made the most of it when we didn’t.”

Grand Blanc scored the game’s lone goal with roughly eight minutes remaining in regulation, ending the most successful and longest season in Central program history.

“This was an awesome group of guys,” Sharpe said about the 2012 team. “I mean, we could have gone 0-18 and I still would have enjoyed being around this group.”

The Vikings were far from winless.

Including the final game, Central wrapped up the season 13-7-2.

The trip beyond the regional semifinal, an overtime upset of Traverse City Central, was the first ever at Central.

So what was it about this group?

“It’s starts with the seniors,” Sharpe said. “They probably won more games in their tenure here than any other class. They led this team, and they knew how to win. I don’t know how you tie a statistic to that, other than they just knew how to win.”

Now the challenge is continuing it.

“Without a doubt, expectations are going up,” Sharpe added. “We had four freshmen and four sophomores on this team who are fired up about the future. There’s a buzz about what’s expected from here on out. They had a taste this year, now have to take that to the next level.”