Thursday’s roundup: Rochester wins soccer regional

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News

Grant Ellison scored with 26 minutes remaining and helped deliver Rochester its first regional championship in boys soccer since 2002 with a 1-0 victory over Grand Blanc Thursday night.

Rochester (16-3-3) moves into next Wednesday’s Division 1 semifinal, in which it will take on the winner of Friday’s tilt between Troy Athens and Macomb Dakota.

“We thought if we could win districts, anything was possible,” Rochester coach Chris Purgatori said of his team’s first trip to the semifinals in 14 years. “We definitely thought we would be in a position to succeed.”

The winning goal came on a counterattack after Demetri Pliakos stole the ball from a Grand Blanc player at midfield. Pliakos slotted it over to Ollie Najar, who picked up the assist after Ellison struck from 18 yards out.

“I thought they were the better team in the first half,” Purgatori said of Grand Blanc. “We were more physical in the second half and carried more possession.”

Rochester goalie Brad Carlson was forced to make seven saves on his way to his 12th shutout of the season.

Grand Blanc finished the season 14-6-5.

More boys soccer regional finals

Division 1

East Kentwood 3, Traverse City West 2

Novi 1, Salem 0

Division 2

Dearborn Divine Child 2, Gibraltar Carlson 0

East Lansing 1, Grand Rapids Forest Hills 0

Fenton 1, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 0

Mattawan 3, Holland 0

Division 3

Charlevoix 5, Benzie Central 0

Grand Rapids Catholic 3, Paw Paw 2 (OT)

Flint Powers Catholic 2, Clawson 0

Division 4

Kalamazoo Hackett 2, Lansing Christian 1

Muskegon Catholic Central 2, Grand Rapids Covenant 1