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April 17, 2013

Grosse Pointe South soccer hopes to contend for state title

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

GROSSE POINTE — Grosse Pointe South’s girls soccer team has made it as far as the state semifinals two times in the history of the program, according to coach Gene Harkins.

But despite any success the program has enjoyed up to this point, including making it to a Division 1 regional final last season, Harkins is not content to rest on his laurels. He has a very big goal in mind for his current squad.

In fact, it is as big as it gets.

“First step will be for us to win (the Macomb Area Conference Red Division),” Harkins said. “Our goal is to win the state championship. That’s my goal. It has been since I’ve taken over.”

Helping to increase Harkin’s confidence in his team’s chances are the 12 returning players South is suiting up, led by captains Franny Weber and Elizabeth Clevenger.

Along with the leadership provided by his captains, Harkins also thinks the experience and work ethic of his team could pay dividends for the Blue Devils.

“Every one of (them) played at club, and they played at a high level,” he said. “These girls are all dedicated. They work hard all year round. I have a very strong attack, as far as people that can put the ball in the net. (They’ve) played together for a long time.”

Aside from the skill they bring to the field, Harkins thinks his players are also focused on the task at hand. He believes they are aware of the success that South’s girls track and basketball teams have had in recent years and that the opportunity is there for the soccer program to accomplish some big things.

As far as his goal of finishing the season on top, Harkins expressed confidence that he is not alone in that ambition.

“I believe everybody is feeling the exact same way,” Harkins said. “We really would like to take it a level higher. We would like to be able to win it all. That’s (the) main goal.”

Before South has the opportunity to go after its ultimate goal, there is the matter of the Red to deal with — South finished second to Eisenhower in the Red the past two seasons.

Aside from the tough competition South may face within its own league, Harkins also thinks it is beneficial to help schedule some challenging non-league matches to help prepare his team for the postseason.

“It’s a plus,” he said. “We’ll play Troy, Troy Athens, (Rochester Hills) Stoney Creek and (Beverly Hills Detroit) Country Day. That kind of gets us ready, too.”

At press time, South was 2-1 overall.

South is scheduled to be in action at 7:30 p.m. April 19 against St. Clair Shores Lake Shore at home.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.