Article and photos courtesy of MIPrepzone
By Michael Wallwork
OXFORD >> The Rochester Adams Highlanders scored off of three corner kicks and defeated the Rochester Falcons 3-0 in the district soccer semifinals Tuesday night.
It didn’t take Adams long to open the scoring. Cassidey Tomezak bent a corner kick into the six-yard box that Alexa Donahue redirected into the net with 35:54 remaining in the first half for a 1-0 Highlanders lead. The Highlanders would have only five corner kicks for the game, but they would end up converting on three of them. Justice Tillotson scored off two corner kicks in the second half by first tapping a ball in following a scramble early in the second half then closing the scoring with a late header.
“The corner kicks and the restarts really helped us out tonight for use,” Adams coach Josh Hickey said. “We do a couple of different things, but they (the corner kicks) did go in the same spot, which was brilliant.” He added that, “We’ve struggled with that all year though. This, I think, was the first time that we scored off of one (a corner kick).”
Neither team had many chances in the run of play as both teams played well defensively. Rochester finished with five shots on goal, though none were particularly dangerous. Goalkeeper Maddie Dolenga saved all five for the Highlanders to record the shutout.
“It was interesting. I think possession wise, we had a lot of possession. But they (Rochester) worked really hard. Dustin’s got those girls working really hard, and they fought the whole time. I think it just came down to when we got comfortable, we were able to play our game a little bit,” Hickey said. “I think the second half we were able to calm it down a little bit and play.”
“It was a pretty even match outside of three corners that put us under,” Falcons head coach Dustin Coleman said. “We kind of figured each other out, and that limited our chances. But in the end, they had a couple more, a couple more corners, a couple more set pieces that put us under.”
Rochester Adams (10-5-6) moves on to face Utica Eisenhower in Thursday’s district final, which will be played at Oxford High School.
“They’re good,” Hickey said. “They’ve got some good players who can finish. They have a good back line too. So it will be interesting. It will be a good test,” Hickey said. “We’re just excited to be back, rematch.”
The Highlanders eliminated the Eagles in the district finals last year2-1 in a shootout.
Rochester finishes the year 10-7-3. The Falcons will graduate 11 players, including five four-year varsity players: Olivia Greenslade, Kaitlyn Godwin, Jessica Hegger, Jillian Lekosiotis, and Mackenzie Smith.
“The season was phenomenal. Eleven seniors all ended the game here tonight, and 10-7-3 it’s one of our better record seasons. We had a pretty tough schedule, so I’m pleased with the overall performance of all the girls,” Coleman said. “They were a pretty consistent bunch, a great group of girls, good players, great character, and overall I’m proud of them.”