John Blake, Sun News, November 28, 2012 11:27 a.m.

A heartbreaking ending can’t deflate Brian Michelson’s encouragement over his 2012 girls soccer team.

Holy Name, breaking in a number of underclassmen, improved dramatically as the season progressed and reached the Division II district finals before losing to Rocky River in overtime. The Green Wave, although talented, battled inexperience and a challenging schedule all season.

“We talked at the beginning of the year and I said it’s either going to be really good or it’s going to be a long year,” said head coach Michelson. “The girls really worked hard to make themselves successful, playing the schedule they played.”

Not only did Holy Name play a tough North Coast League, it also was the only team in the country to defeat St. Anthony (NY), a national powerhouse considered one of the nation’s best girls soccer programs. A number of core players played key roles in the Green Wave’s success, including sophomores Caroline Dreher and Toni Dickson, junior Reese Grzybowski and freshman Sarah Krause.

“She’s probably one of the best players I’ve seen in a long time coming into high school,” Michelson says of Krause.

Krause led the team in total points and Dreher led Holy Name in goals this fall.

“She’s another very, very good player,” Michelson said of Dreher. “She’s one of our top players in the program.

Junior outside defender Jackie Corrigan, whose season ended prematurely with a torn ACL in the postseason, also garnered some praise from the Holy Name coach.

“She didn’t play much her sophomore year and she quickly became one of our top defenders and had an outstanding year,” said Michelson.

Holy Name shut out Fairview and Bay in the first two rounds of the playoffs before suffering a controversial 3-2, double overtime loss to Rocky River. In that contest, a goal by the Green Wave with 90 seconds left was missed by the officials.

“We learned a hard lesson, we can’t let referees dictate what’s going to happen in a game,” said Michelson. “We’ve got to be able to finish. We played a great game and had a ton of opportunities. The key lesson for that is we have to finish our opportunities during the game so we don’t leave it up to somebody else to determine the game.”

Regardless, the Holy Name coach said it was a great game with a great crowd at Rocky River High School.

“I think that’s one of the biggest crowds we’ve played in front of,” said Michelson. “Our fans this year were unbelievable. That’s a tribute to Holy Name, really supporting the girls and they came out to support them that game. That was kind of encouraging to see.”

Holy Name only loses two seniors from this squad and the future is as promising as ever.

“On paper it looks bright for us but we have to make sure that we do our job,” says Michelson. “Overall the major core of girls, they played really good soccer and were a good team to watch. (There were) no issues with players. Every year you have different issues with girls that you try to deal with. This year it was a total team effort every game. It was so nice to be around all the time.”