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October 23, 2013

St. Mary’s closes season with tough loss to solid Cranbrook team

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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St. Mary’s closes season with tough loss to solid Cranbrook team
St. Mary’s sophomore defender Brenden Slicker makes a play on the ball against Cranbrook. The Eaglets fell to the Cranes 4-2 in a district semifinal.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — He called it one of the best games his team played all season.

It was also against one of the best teams Joe Ruffolo and the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s soccer squad had faced in 2013.

The end result was a 4-2 loss to Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood, but the next chapter in the Eaglets’ story may be one to take notice of.

“I really think we’re a year away,” Ruffolo said after the Oct. 16 setback in a Division 2 district semifinal. “We only have one senior (Christian DiClemente), and I think that lack of multiple guys with experience and veteran leadership kind of hurt us this season. But we came out here and probably played the best games of the season, and we did it against a very skilled Cranbrook team.”

The Cranes, 15-1-2 after the win, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half.

But St. Mary’s came roaring back, as Dominic Perelli and Mike Beckett scored roughly 10 minutes apart to tie the game at 2-2.

It stayed that way until Cranbrook scored with 14:15 remaining in regulation to take the lead for good. The Cranes added the final goal with 9:57 to play.

“We played a great game for about 50-60 minutes,” Ruffolo said. “We just couldn’t avoid some mental mistakes today, and when we made them, that’s a very skilled Cranbrook team that took advantage.”

St. Mary’s ends its season at 6-13-1.

“It was a roller coaster at times,” Ruffolo said. “But I think next year, when we bring some guys back and we have a good collection of seniors, we’re going to be a tough team.”

St. Mary’s beat Redford Thurston 8-0 in the playoff opener.

In other local action
In a D-1 district from Hartland High, Walled Lake Central and West Bloomfield High played for a championship after press time.

West Bloomfield beat Walled Lake Northern 3-2 in overtime in the semifinal after beating Milford High 1-0 in the opener.

Central beat Walled Lake Western 2-1 in the other semifinal, after beating White Lake Lakeland 2-1 in overtime in the opener.

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