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October 9, 2012

Soccer district guaranteed to have at least one local team in championship

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Soccer district guaranteed to have at least one local team in championship
Farmington’s Daniel Rusteberg (10) kicks the ball in front of a Stoney Creek player. Farmington will open the postseason against North Farmington.

When the 2012 postseason officially begins, almost nothing can be taken as a guarantee.

Almost.

“It’s pretty cool this year, because no matter what happens, we’re going to have a Farmington team in the final,” North Farmington soccer coach Mike Horner said of this year’s Division 1 Livonia Stevenson district. “Usually, the draw doesn’t work out that way, but this will be something cool.”

Horner spoke before a home game Oct. 2, an eventual 1-0 win against West Bloomfield High, less than two weeks before his team will open the playoffs against Farmington High.

“We are very, very excited to get things going,” he said of the 7 p.m. game to be played at Farmington on Oct. 15. “The boys feel like we have a lot to prove right now, and this is the time of year to prove it.”

While one half of the draw features Novi High against Northville High and Novi Detroit Catholic Central against Stevenson, the bottom bracket pits North Farmington and Farmington against one another in the opener.

The winner takes on Farmington Hills Harrison at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Stevenson, with the final set for 2:30 p.m. Oct. 20.

“I think everyone expects a good game,” Farmington coach Luke Juncaj said of the opener. “We will be ready to go, as will they.”

North Farmington was 6-6-2 at press time, while Farmington was 7-4-9.

The teams played to a 0-0 draw in the only meeting of the regular season.

The Raiders also tied Harrison 0-0, while the Falcons beat Harrison 1-0.

“It’s going to be important to finish on the chances we get,” Juncaj said. “We had some real good opportunities the first half when we played (North Farmington), but couldn’t finish for some reason. In the second half, things got tighter and the game played out. So finishing is going to be key.”

“We’ve been playing better the last few games, and I think that’s key,” Horner said. “We’re moving in the right direction now, playing our best soccer of the year.”

While the teams are evenly matched up and down, Juncaj said the lone advantage might be the field itself.

“I think playing at home gives our guys a little edge,” he explained. “We seem to be more comfortable there. We seem to play better there, so if there is anything that separates us, that could be it.”

The district winner advances to the regional round at Farmington, beginning Oct. 23.

Harrison coach Tim Russell did not return calls to comment about the district.

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