Fraser junior Amar Selmic looks to advance the ball to a teammate.

Fraser junior Amar Selmic looks to advance the ball to a teammate.

Photo provided by Michael Agostini

Fraser soccer’s successful year highlighted by district title

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published November 21, 2022


FRASER — It’s been eight years since Fraser soccer last won a district title, and it looked like nine was going to be on the horizon at the start of the year.

After a district finals loss to Warren De La Salle Collegiate last season, Fraser entered the year on a three-game losing streak, scoring only two goals in that span.

It was familiar territory for a team that has started the season 0-3 for the last three years, but it was a different mentality this time. With their backs against the wall, Fraser earned wins in seven of its next ten contests while tallying just under three goals per game.

“When we had a couple losses in a row, that made us hungry to come back off a loss streak and get the win,” senior Michael Susan said. “It was all or nothing, like we had nothing to lose.”

Fraser carried the momentum into the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 boys soccer playoffs, securing wins over Warren Mott and Macomb Area Conference Red Division opponent Sterling Heights Stevenson to reach the district finals.

Fraser squared off against St. Clair Shores Lakeview, which suffered only one loss in the regular season, in the district championship.

Led by a balanced attack on both sides of the ball, Fraser prevailed in a 3-0 win to secure the title.

Fraser’s brutal schedule throughout the year that featured Berkley, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, Utica, Utica Ford and Romeo had finally paid off.

“We knew that we could play with the best teams in the state. It was just a matter of putting it together and getting it done,” Fraser coach Michael Agostini said. “You have to play with the teams you know are going to be in the playoffs and do well in the playoffs.”

Fraser would fall to New Baltimore Anchor Bay in the regional semifinals, but that shouldn’t take away from everything Agostini and his team accomplished.

“The brotherhood we had was a bond that definitely led us to our success,” Susan said. “We always looked out for each other.”

Susan, who tallied 14 goals and nine assists on the year, was a key senior leader offensively alongside Kostandinos Babi, Ayden Lee, Carter Braun, Jacob Kelly, Justin Russo and Conner Krawiec.

Babi contributed five goals on the year while Lee added seven of his own.

It was a true team effort on all levels for Fraser, and their elite-level passing game showcased the team’s biggest strength.

“I think the biggest strength was the belief in each other,” Agostini said. “They worked really hard, and they worked really well, but they always worked together.”

While the seniors led by example, Fraser’s underclassmen outperformed expectations this season.

Juniors Amar Selmic, Evan Grove, Brendan Smigielski, Nickolas Watley and Darryl Jackson and sophomore Gjon Prekaj led a youthful back line for Fraser.

“Between those six guys, it was a really stellar group being mostly all sophomores and juniors,” Agostini said.

Along with junior goalkeepers Carter McMahon and Noah Manor, and all-state honorable mention Jacob Stone, the junior-led core will be asked to take on the leadership role this year’s seniors provided.

It’s a tough ask for a group of seniors who are coming off an impressive year, but Susan said he expects the guys to pick up right where his class left off.

“We set this groundwork for success,” Susan said. “This is what we accomplished, and we want you to continue it.”

Fraser will have a tough pill to swallow, losing seven leaders to graduation, but the returning 16 starters for the 2023 campaign are ready for another run at regionals.

“We’re looking to just build upon what they’ve done and the foundation they’ve laid for the younger guys,” Agostini said.