By: Kaylin K
No one knows more about working hard to play hard than Walled Lake Central’s men’s varsity soccer team, who had an all around exceptional season. Dedication and the love the players have for the sport drove them to an overall record of 24-2-1 and a spot in the state final match-up.
Not only did the boys sweep their three games at districts and two games at regionals, but they advanced to States for the first time ever. At States, they won one game against Troy High School before taking on Detroit Catholic Central in the state championship game where they fought hard. The game ended with a score of 0-1, proving they definitely held their own. “It’s upsetting that we made it so far only to lose by such a close score in the last five minutes,” said senior forward Ray Daniels. However, this loss does not diminish the accomplishments of the team, who dominated the field every time they stepped on and made history.
During the State final game with Detroit Catholic Central, an unfortunate injury occurred involving one of the team’s captains, senior Karl Tavadia (the other captain being senior Nik Palafox). Tavadia attempted to check an opposing player ten minutes into the second half and said he suddenly felt, “Two roads twisting in my thigh.” After this clash Tavadia couldn’t walk, let alone continue to play. Tavadia’s ACL was torn and required surgery. Thankfully, the surgery was successful and the injury should be healed by summer time.
For some this will be a season to learn and grow from, yet for the seniors it was their last go at Central. While the underclassmen may be returning they will treasure the remarkable season 2017 held for them. Junior Brian Ostapenko said, “This was truly an unforgettable season. All the things the team was achieved is amazing. I couldn’t ask to be part of a better soccer team. We are the boys of Walled Lake.”
When looking at the success of the boys, respect and acknowledgement must to paid to coach Joel Sharpe of Varsity Soccer whose leadership of the team led him to be named as the 2017 MIHSSCA Public Large School Coach of the Year. Senior Trae Hjorth said, “It’s a well deserved title.”
Walled Lake Central is looking forward to their 2018 Men’s Varsity Soccer season. Sharpe shared that the returning members are, “Eleven juniors and four sophomores,” and that they’re “Excited to make sure this wasn’t our only time at States. They’re ready to start working and they’re lifting already.” It can be inferred that the 2018 season is shaping up to be another one for the books.