Royal Oak High’s Ethan Nowakowski battles for possession with a Troy Athens player Oct. 10 in a Division 1 district game on the road. The Ravens fell 3-0.

Royal Oak High’s Ethan Nowakowski battles for possession with a Troy Athens player Oct. 10 in a Division 1 district game on the road. The Ravens fell 3-0.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Ravens see bounce-back season end with district loss

By: Jacob Herbert | Royal Oak Review | Published October 15, 2019

 Ravens senior Joseph Borski goes up for a header in a district game against Troy Athens. Despite the early playoff exit, the Ravens were crowned champions in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division this season.

Ravens senior Joseph Borski goes up for a header in a district game against Troy Athens. Despite the early playoff exit, the Ravens were crowned champions in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division this season.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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TROY — For 55 minutes, the Royal Oak High boys soccer team played Troy Athens to a scoreless tie in a Division 1 district game Oct. 10 at Athens. 

The Ravens bent, but did not break against the No. 2-ranked team in the state.

They even peppered in chances of their own, including a shot from Ethan Nowakowski that hit the crossbar with 34 minutes remaining in regulation. 

But with 24 minutes remaining in the game, Athens senior Andri Myftari was awarded a penalty shot and converted to give the Red Hawks a lead it would never relinquish. From there, Athens added two goals from Tj Renaud and Cameron Grazioski to reach the 3-0 final score. 

Even in the loss, Ravens coach Mike Thomas was pleased with what he saw out of his team against one of the state’s best.

“(We played) dynamite defense,” he said. “Midfielders were running and covering, exactly what we’ve been working on all year long. Very, very proud of what they did.”

Royal Oak ended its season at 10-6-4 overall. Along the way, the squad won the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division, going 4-0 in league play. 

Of its 10 wins, eight were by shutout. Overall, the Ravens outscored their opponents 54-21.

Last season, the Ravens finished 2-12-3 overall — which was at the bottom of the OAA Blue — and were outscored 45-17.

“They meshed this year,” Thomas said of Royal Oak’s turnaround. “With all the stuff that they do off the field and on the field, they just really meshed into a nice team.”

Thomas said the success was fueled by a total team effort.

The Ravens are set to graduate 12 seniors and have 13 players expected to return. When asked to reflect on his senior class, the coach said one aspect stuck out above the rest.

“How hard they worked,” he said. “We were kind of relaxed last year. We got a little bit tougher this year, and it showed.”

Call Sports Writer Jacob Herbert at (586) 498-1062. Follow Sports on Twitter @CandGSports.

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