Rochester Adams takes a team photo after their 3-2 regional championship win over New Baltimore Anchor Bay Oct. 27 at Rochester Adams High School.

Rochester Adams takes a team photo after their 3-2 regional championship win over New Baltimore Anchor Bay Oct. 27 at Rochester Adams High School.

Photo provided by the Rochester Adams High School soccer team

Rochester Adams soccer’s ‘phenomenal season’ scores first state title since 1999

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Rochester Post | Published December 19, 2022


ROCHESTER HILLS — Last year was all part of a systematic plan for Rochester Adams boys soccer.

The first step was to finish below .500 on the year, and the final step was a first-round elimination in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 Tournament.

Junior forward and 2022 Dream Team selection Jackson Craft, who was sidelined last year due to injury, returned to a veteran-led Adams squad featuring junior keeper John Coon, senior forward Luke Rosin, senior midfielder Noah Murray, senior center back Koen Schultz and senior holding midfielder Michael Elzerman.

Back at full strength, Adams (17-1-6) took the Oakland Activities Association-Red conference by storm and the Division 1 State Championship.

“We knew from the beginning we were going to be good, but we felt we were going to be under the radar, which was pretty cool,” Adams coach Josh Hickey said.

On Nov. 5 at Comstock Park High School, Adams defeated Rockford High School 2-0 to capture the school’s first state title since 1999.

Craft, who also earned first team all-state honors, tallied the first goal for Adams, while senior midfielder Matthew Vostriakov added the final goal to put the game out of reach.

Adams’ 23-year drought featured two runner-up finishes in 2001 and 2014, but Craft said it carries extra weight being the team to break the streak.

“We take a lot of pride in that. We take a lot of pride in the school and the community,” Craft said.

Coon, who also received Dream Team honors, provided yet another shutout in net in the state finals match, tallying 14 shutouts on the season and his second shutout in the MHSAA state tournament.

Adams’ season featured two major obstacles, and both featured one particular OAA-Red rival.

Troy, who was the No. 1-ranked team in Division 1, was a thorn in the side of the entire OAA-Red this season, and it was no different with Adams.

Troy earned a 2-1 victory over Adams Aug. 30, which would ultimately not only be Adams’ one loss on the year, but the deciding factor for the OAA-Red league champion.

Adams took an early 1-0 lead, but Troy bounced back to secure the 2-1 win. Craft said that game alone motivated the team the rest of the way.

“That game really hurt, and it made the rest of the season personal,” Craft said.

Adams handled the rest of the season with ease, averaging over three goals per game and tallying nine shutouts.

That was until Adams met Troy once more, but this time in the MHSAA regional semifinals.

“We knew that was going to be the hurdle we had to get through, and when we did, we had the confidence to get through the rest of the way,” Hickey said.

After taking a 2-0 lead, Adams saw its early season nightmare come to life again as Troy took a 3-2 lead in the blink of an eye.

A resilient Adams squad didn’t fold this time, but instead got the break of a lifetime through Rosin being taken down inside the box.

He capitalized on the penalty kick, and a shootout only drove the adrenaline even higher for a match of this magnitude.

After Adams carried the goal advantage, courtesy of junior center back Henry Hall, Coon showed why he was a Dream Team selection, stopping Troy’s kick to secure the 4-3 win.

“It still makes my heart drop watching all that happen,” Craft said.

From there, it was all Adams en route to its state finals championship.

Hickey, who was named coach of the year, according to the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association, said Adams’ balanced play on both sides of the ball was the driving force behind their success.

“We knew we could score, and defensively, we were just solid,” Hickey said. “It was kind of just seeing those pieces come together.”

Adams is set to graduate 12 seniors this year out of its 25-man roster but will return an array of talent led by Coon, Craft, sophomore outside back Anthony Page and junior outside back Nick Hopkins.

Craft, who was a leader by example this season, will take on a senior leadership role next year as a returning state champion. Craft said the 2022 senior class played a significant role in his growth.

“I learned a lot from players like Luke (Rosin), Mikey (Elzerman) and Koen (Schultz),” Craft said. “Those guys are my brothers; they really made me better.”

While Adams spent the better half of the 2022 season ranked around the No. 8 spot, Adams will enter next season no longer under the radar.

With two returning Dream Team starters and a state championship under their belt, Adams will be the team to beat entering the 2023 season.

“I don’t know if it’s something where you’re gunned for, but I don’t think it’ll be something where they don’t really know who guys like John and Jackson are,” Hickey said.