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BOYS SOCCER: Royal Oak shuts out Harrison to remain unbeaten in OAA Blue

ROYAL OAK – The host Royal Oak Ravens remained unbeaten in OAA Blue with a 1-0 victory over the Farmington Hills Harrison Hawks Tuesday night.

The game’s lone goal came just over 15 minutes in when Joey Dokho sprang Zak Balazovic on a break away, and after dribbling to the end line to avoid the charging keeper and a recovering defense, Balzovic fired a ball from the sharp angle that deflected and trickled over the goal line.

Coming off an emotional 2-1 victory over rival Berkley on Monday night, the Ravens were a little flat to start and took a bit to get going.

“I was afraid of this coming off such a big intense game yesterday against Berkley. I was worried about kind of coming out flat,” Ravens head coach Colby Cunningham said.

But the Ravens were able to pick the pace up as the game went along, possessing the ball well and keeping the pressure on Farmington Hills Harrison most of the night, particularly in the second half. With captains Bailey Harris and Christian Huber leading the way, the Ravens were able to recycle possession well and shut down the Hawks’ counterattack, holding Harrison without a shot in the second half.

“I thought we kept a lot of possession throughout the game,” Cunningham said. “It just didn’t translate into the scoreboard obviously.”

A big reason why the Ravens’ possession didn’t translate was the play of the Hawks’ defense as the Harrison defense was nearly as good as Royal Oak’s, particularly center backs Brett Chasnick and Eimil Hennes, and the Hawks gave Royal Oak very little to shoot at much of the night as the Ravens managed only four shots on goal for the game despite owning the ball for much of the night.

Outside backs Isaac Kawesa and Alec Parkins also turned in solid efforts for the Hawks.

“The whole defense was good,” Hawks head coach Tim Russell said. “All across the back, they played well.”

In the final assessment, Cunningham was content to get the win and try to build on the performance.

“It is a win overall, and it’s a league win. So everything counts at this point,” he said. “We didn’t have a day to practice. We didn’t have a day to recover. You’re right back into another game. But that’s the difference between a good team and a great team is can you pick yourself up and carry that intensity over to the next game. Hopefully we can continue to strive and work on that."

The win improves Royal Oak’s record to 4-0 in OAA Blue with only two league games remaining. But next up for the Ravens is a non-league test against Sterling Heights Stevenson on Friday.

Harrison slips to 1-2 in OAA Blue ahead of Thursday’s home game against Walled Lake Northern. Overall though, Russell was still pleased with his team’s play. “I was proud of our effort,” he said. “They guys did well. They played well,” he added.

Last Updated: 9/24/2013 11:08:05 PM EST

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