Article and photos courtesy of MIPrepzone
By Michael Wallwork
ROCHESTER – The annual rivalry game between the Stoney Creek Cougars and Rochester Adams Highlanders ended in a 2-2 draw Thursday afternoon.
Isabella Paradoski scored her second goal of the game midway through the second half, chipping a ball in from the right side of the penalty area to tie the game at 2-2. She also opened the scoring with 24:54 to play in the first half when she blasted a ball in from 30 yards out on the left side.
“She’s a real special player,” Stoney Creek head coach Bryan Mittelstadt said. “A lot of expectations for here, and to carry the team offensively, and she’s come back this year right and came back right where she left of last year.”
The Cougars had come out strong in the first 15 minutes, dominating possession and largely bottling up Adams. But the Highlanders fought back to tie the game on a Justice Tillotson penalty kick with 20:48 remaining in the first half, and that seemed to spark Adams for the remainder of the game.
“It took us 20 minutes to realize what these games are. I have a lot of youth who are really talented, but it took them a while to get into it,” Adams head coach Josh Hickey said. “When we got that first goal, it was back on track, and the rest of the game I was super proud.”
From that point on, the game turned into one of adjustments as the Cougars largely continued to dominate possession, but the Highlanders started to get their transition attack going, enabling them to match Stoney Creek shot for shot and goal for goal. When the Cougars would make an adjustment to stop what Adams was doing on the counterattack, the Highlanders would switch their personnel around or find some other adjustment to make that would get it going again.
“There are a lot of things I had to change throughout the game,” Hickey said. “But right now, I’ve got a team of 24 players, and the 24 players, they can all play. So I have that luxury where I can use different players who have shown me something throughout the year – and they all have. They have all stepped up in big moments.”
“It was a chess match a little bit,” Mittelstadt said. “It took a little bit of time getting things together, getting things organized and then throwing something at them, and then they were throwing something at us. That’s what seems to happen any time we play Adams-Stoney. It’s a chess match and both teams want to win this game so bad that they will give everything they can to do that.”
Adams took the lead late in the first half on a rocket from Remeni Tillotson that found the net from 35 yards out.
The draw puts the cap on Stoney Creek’s championship OAA Red campaign. Stoney Creek had clinched the title on Tuesday when Bloomfield Hills defeated Troy, eliminating the Colts from contention. The Cougars (15-1-1 overall) finish the league season with a 4-1-1 record in the OAA Red division.
“It’s been a while, and I would say this class that won the state championship as freshmen, this is their first league championship. So it was something that they wanted to get,” Mittelstadt said. “Tonight, the main focus was playing hard and being down 2-1 and giving full effort and getting that equalizer was so important in all facets of the game from the character and the mental aspect – the toughness, the desire to win.
Adams (8-5-6 overall) picks up their fourth draw in six league matches to finish 1-1-4 in the division.
Both teams will have one final tune up next Monday before starting the MHSAA Division 1 Playoffs on Wednesday when the Highlanders will travel to Romeo to take on the Bulldogs and Stoney Creek will face Lake Orion.