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Beverly Hills

Stachura says after slow start, his Groves soccer team should be one to contend with

Published September 11, 2013

» click to enlarge «
Groves’ Jack Mansueti (23) and Brady Goldstein, of Bloomfield Hills High, battle for the ball in a game earlier this season. After a 1-2 start, Groves was 4-0 at press time.

BEVERLY HILLS — He called it a “taste of humble pie.”

Figuratively speaking, of course.

Literally speaking, the Beverly Hills Groves soccer team went to the Country Day season opening tournament with expectations of winning it all.

The Falcons left with a 1-2 record and more questions than answers.

“I think those games taught us some lessons,” coach Jim Stachura said. “We had a great season (in 2012), but that doesn’t mean anything now.”

If his guys didn’t realize it when the season started, Stachura offered them a chance to on a Sunday afternoon in Troy.

Normally an off day, Stachura gathered his guys for a practice, only it had more to do with training and physical exertion than it did actual soccer.

Eyes were opened.

“Things changed,” Stachura said with a laugh. “I think it was something we needed. Just to kind of refocus everything.”

Since the wake-up call, Groves was 4-0 at press time, including a 3-0 mark in the Oakland Activities Association White Division — good for first place.

“We got back to the basics of playing good soccer,” Stachura said. “We were being too cute. We were doing too many things that we’re not good at. We decided to get back to what makes us go.”

And when the Falcons are doing that, they are dangerous.

Last year, the group finished 12-6-8 overall and reached a Division 1 regional final, eventually falling to Utica Ford 1-0.

Eight starters returned to the team this fall, and 14 players on the 20-man roster are seniors.

Potential for success is sky high, and it starts with a division crown.

“First and foremost, we want to win the division,” Stachura said. “It’s been a long time, way too long, since we’ve won a competitive division like the White.”

He hinted at making some noise again in the playoffs, even going further than the regional final like a year ago, but said postseason talk needs to be shelved for now.

“We’ll worry about the playoffs come playoff time,” Stachura added. “Right now, we’re focused on playing our game, staying perfect in the division, and then we’ll take things from there.”

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