By Michael Wallwork, The Oakland Press
ROCHESTER HILLS >> The Rochester Adams Highlanders and Bloomfield Hills Black Hawks opened the OAA Red portion of their season with a 1-1 draw on a windy Thursday night.
The Black Hawks tied the game with just 1:07 remaining. Bloomfield Hills earned a corner kick and Christina Hickson fired it back post where Grace Jaksen won a header in traffic, nodding it home from close range.
“I think it was a good performance by our girls. It’s always tough coming off spring break, but I love the resilience, playing all the way through the full game,” Black Hawks head coach Alan Zakaria said. “I was pleased with how we played, and how we possessed, and how we worked together.”
Jaksen’s goal was the final payoff for a resilient squad that had dominated possession, especially in the first half, but had not been able to make their possession payoff. In particular, Bloomfield Hills was able to consistently recycle possession in midfield in the first half behind swarming team defense.
“If you can do that, a lot of times you’re successful, especially in the final third, and I think our girls did a great job of that. I’m really pleased with their effort today,” Zakaria today. “I think overall we try to create a team atmosphere and concept to how we defend. And I think overall, from top to bottom, they defended hard and understood their roles and responsibilities and performed to the best of their abilities.”
But an organized Adams defensive effort was able to limit the quality – and for long stretches also the quantity – of chances the Black Hawks were able to generate. Add in a surehanded effort from freshman goalkeeper Maddie Dolenga in net, and Bloomfield Hills was stymied for much of the game.
“I think we held them. In the first half, they had a lot of possession with that wind. But I thought that we limited their shots pretty minimally, and in the second half I thought we tilted the field a little bit,” Adams head coach Josh Hickey said.
Finally, after a tight first half that saw very few chances for either team, Adams got the scoring started in the second half. Hailey Wentzloff fired a cross to Anna Heath who was alone on the back post for a tap in and a 1-0 Highlander lead with 28:02 remaining.
Adams had a much better second half offensively led by the play of Madi Rieser. The Highlanders got their offense going and were more successful at breaking out and solving the Bloomfield Hills midfield pressure, which enabled Adams to create chances in transition, eventually leading to Heath’s goal.
“The wind was a little heavy today, so the first half we really had to defend against what they were doing, and they’re a good team – sixth in the state,” Hickey said. “I thought we did a really good job of that, and then in the second half we were able to kind of turn it, and I was pretty happy with the result, except obviously you can’t give up goals in the last minute of play. But it was a good game overall.”
Next up for Rochester Adams (7-0-2, 0-0-1 OAA Red) is a Saturday game against Lapeer before they return to OAA Red action next Thursday when they travel to Troy Athens.