By BRYAN EVERSON
It was always going to follow-up 2016 in terms of a girls’ soccer season in Rochester.
Last year’s triumph by Stoney Creek wasn’t just the school’s first championship in any sport besides competitive cheerleading (2010), but the first title in the sport since the turn of the century. But despite lacking a team in the Class A quarterfinal played in Cougars’ territory, there was plenty of talent spread across the schools in a year that was far from a disappointment.
In total, seven Rochester players were named to MIHSSCA’s All-State teams that were revealed on Monday.
Though none were chosen for the Dream Team, which included Miss Soccer Danielle Stephan of Dewitt, Stoney Creek led the way with two first-team all-state selections, including seniors Gina Cerny and Emily Solek. Both were integral starters for last year’s title-winning squad that took down numerous ranked teams in Division 1 in the playoffs. This year, they helped lead the Cougars to a 14- 4-3 record and to reach their district final before being stopped by Utica Eisenhower, one of state’s other top teams.
Emily’s sister, Megan, a sophomore midfielder, was also an honorable mention for Stoney.
While the Cougars figure to be very good again next year with plenty of returning talent, head coach Bryan Mittelstadt heaped ample praise among the seniors that included the honored pair.
“Overall, I think they created an identity,” Mittelstadt said. “They were tough and physical. I think that was something we might have been missing in some of our other classes. The bond that they had with each other, I’ve just never seen it, and I’ve coached for a long time. In the long run, I think they helped develop the next class of Stoney Creek soccer players, so they’ll be known for that forever.”
Several miles west, Adams enjoyed its own share of the spoils. Senior goalkeeper Maggie Rogers was named a second-team selection, and junior midfielder Hailey Wentzloff landed on the third team.
Along with fellow teammate Ryiann Owusu, who played midfield for the Highlanders this year, the trio were key cogs in powering the Highlanders to win the OAA Red title, and claim victory in their playoff opener over Lake Orion before bowing out to Stoney in the district semifinals.
Both Rogers and Owusu will go on and continue their careers at Western Michigan.
Junior forward Gabby Gilmore will be one of the returners for Rochester next season, and was the team’s lone selection as an honorable mention.
The Falcons, though, were extremely competitive for a team sporting just two seniors, and will return a number of talented underclassmen for what should be a bright 2018 and beyond. The Falcons were young on the pitch, but may have enjoyed the best individual season of all in baseball, winning the school’s second consecutive Class A regional championship.
Rochester knocked off hosts Romeo, Ike and Stoney Creek en route to the district championship, then rolled over Royal Oak 8-1 before catching fire late in the regional final to win 10-2 over Brother Rice, ranked fifth in Division 1 entering the playoffs.
Senior starting pitchers Albert Nagy and Jacob Jackson both sported sub-1.00 ERAs over the season, and Nagy was selected to play in the 6th Annual MHSBCA East-West All-Star Baseball Classic at Comerica Park on June 20.
“I legitimately think [Nagy] is the best pitcher in the state,” Rochester coach Eric Magiera said following the regional win. “I don’t know how his numbers match up with everybody — they’re probably better than most of the guys out there — but I’m telling you if it was between him and any other pitcher in the state, I’d want Albert Nagy on the mound.”
In softball, no Division 1 team from Rochester was able to escape from district play, but Lutheran Northwest carried the banner in Division 3.
The Crusaders won their sixth district in a row thanks to a 6-4 victory over Bishop Foley. They went on to mercy Detroit Central, 19-3, before losing a 2-1 heart-breaker to Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett in the regional championship.
Senior catcher Ali Magiera (Central Michigan) was a Division 3 first-team all-state selection, while junior starting pitcher Madison Macy was named as an honorable mention player.
“Since day one, when they came to the school as freshmen, they’ve been starters,” Lutheran Northwest coach Jeff Ludwig said. “They both were captains as sophomores. They’re leaders by words and by example. The kids migrate to them, feed off them and excited to say they play with girls like that.”