Warren De La Salle senior Ryan Beginin, left, and Berkley High's Jacob Schleicher battle during an Oct. 23 Division 1 regional semifinal. The Pilots won 2-1.

Warren De La Salle senior Ryan Beginin, left, and Berkley High's Jacob Schleicher battle during an Oct. 23 Division 1 regional semifinal. The Pilots won 2-1.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


De La Salle soccer outlasts Berkley to advance to regional final

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published October 23, 2018

STERLING HEIGHTS — Thaier Mukhtar is in his first year back leading the Warren De La Salle soccer team after six years at Fraser High.

His legacy is already secure, with five state titles and more than 500 wins already on his record. 

Mukhtar could add to that, as he has the Pilots to within three wins of the program’s sixth state championship.

De La Salle outlasted Berkley High 3-0 in a shootout to take a 2-1 win in an Oct. 23 Division 1 regional semifinal.

“A lot of people doubted us,” Mukhtar said. “This team was under .500 last season. I’ve just been talking all season about wanting these boys to be their best. It’s nice to win district titles. We want to win state titles. I want them to give 100 percent every time they step on the field and they did that tonight.”

De La Salle (18-3-4) advances to take on Utica Eisenhower (17-3-3) in a regional final set for 6 p.m. Oct. 27 at Stevenson. The winner goes to a state semifinal set for 7 p.m. Oct. 31 at Troy High. Time and date for the D-1 state title game has not yet been determined.

Berkley ends the season at 19-4-2.

“These boys have a lot to hang their hats on,” Berkley assistant coach Jory Finkelberg said. “This was one of the best teams in the history of this program. This is tough, of course, but we’re proud of those guys.”

The Pilots in the shootout got scores from seniors Ryan Beginin and Tadeusz Gabryel, and sophomore Spencer LeBeau. De La Salle senior goalkeeper Justin Huttenlocher made two diving stops in the shootout.

“I just saw the ball and knew I had to stop it,” Huttenlocher said.

Berkley senior Jason Bormann put his team up 1-0 on a header off a corner kick with 3:10 left in the first half. Neither team managed much offense to that point.

De La Salle early in the second half knotted the match at 1-1 with 33:36 left in regulation, as junior Thomas Turner got control of the ball and raced up the field, and fired a shot that hit the back of the net.

“(Turner) is really fast,” Mukhtar said. “The Berkley player had five yards on him and he just sped right past him.”

De La Salle in the district round outscored three opponents 17-2 on its way to a district championship. The Pilots beat Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 2-1 in an Oct. 20 district final, claiming their first district title since 2016. It gave Mukhtar his 27th district title with De La Salle.

Berkley got to regionals with a 3-0 Oct. 20 win over Birmingham Seaholm. The Bears in district outscored three opponents 7-1 on their way to the program’s first district title since 2005.