St. Mary’s set to kick into districts, seeking first title

By: Mike Moore | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published October 13, 2017

 Christian Nuckolls and the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s soccer team begin the postseason at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at Farmington Hills Harrison in a second-round Division 2 district game.

Christian Nuckolls and the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s soccer team begin the postseason at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at Farmington Hills Harrison in a second-round Division 2 district game.

Photo by Donna Agusti

ORCHARD LAKE — When the 2017 postseason officially began Oct. 16, the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s soccer team had to be a little patient.

Not anymore.

At 7 p.m. Oct. 18, the Eaglets are set to battle at Farmington Hills Harrison in a second-round Division 2 district game.

In the opening round, Ferndale High and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood faced one another, and the winner of that game is now the opponent to face St. Mary’s.

And that is now the opponent standing in the way of a little history the Eaglets would like to make.

“This is a program that’s never won a district title. In fact, I don’t know that we’ve ever played in a final,” coach Keith Jeffery said. “Either way, we have guys who want to do something special around here, and now is their opportunity to do that.”

Should Ferndale have pulled the upset Monday night, it would mark the first meeting between St. Mary’s and the Eagles.

But, as Jeffery spoke about the postseason, he did so with every expectation of facing a very deep and very talented Cranbrook team.

For the third time.

“We tied them 1-1, and they beat us 2-0,” Jeffery said of his team’s meetings with the Cranes this fall. “At the same time, in those games, we were missing a couple starters each time. That’s not an excuse, but it makes a difference.”

Should his team have to find a way to beat Cranbrook for the first time this year, Jeffery knows his guys have to be at their best.

“This would be a rivalry game that could go either way,” he said. “We have to limit turnovers. We have to carry the ball. We can’t make any big mistakes. It’s on us to come out and match the intensity we know they will have.”

At press time, the Eaglets were 11-6-1, marking the third-highest win total for a regular season in program history.

The semifinal winner moves on to face Harrison, Farmington High, Madison Heights Lamphere or Auburn Hills Avondale in a 6 p.m. Oct. 20 final at Harrison.


In other playoff action
West Bloomfield High and Walled Lake Western opened the postseason against one another Oct. 17. The winner faces Hartland High or White Lake Lakeland at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Walled Lake Central in a D-1 semifinal.

In the same district, Central battled Milford High in an opener. That winner takes on Walled Lake Northern at 7 p.m. Oct. 19.

The final is set for 3 p.m. Oct. 21.

In D-4 action, West Bloomfield Frankel Jewish Academy faced Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest after press time. The winner faces Royal Oak Shrine in an Oct. 19 semifinal at Auburn Hills Oakland Christian.