Ranger Soccer Hopes High For 2012 Season
The Lakewood High School Rangers Boys Soccer Team anticipates an exciting and successful season this fall. Coached by 5th year coach Andrew Toth and assisted by Attila Nagy, the Rangers have begun regular workouts and scrimmage matches with traditional soccer powers St. Ignatius, Strongsville and Mayfield. “I like what I have seen in the early going of practices and in the scrimmages. This team has the ability, if matched with the proper desire and determination, to achieve a lot of their goals in 2012,” said Coach Toth.
Much of the anticipation for 2012 centers on the school’s inaugural play in the West Shore Conference where neighborhood rivals become meaningful opponents as Lakewood compete against Bay Village, Rocky River, Avon, Midview, Vermillion, and Elyria Catholic as part of conference play. Valley Forge, Normandy, St. Edward, Brecksville, Willoughby South, Midpark, Amherst, Westlake and Olmsted Falls comprise a formidable list of non-conference opponents. How the Rangers are seeded in the end-of-season statewide tournament is dependent how they prevail in both league and overall play.
Program success in recent seasons gives Lakewood a solid foundation to build upon in 2012. The 2011 team finished with 9 wins, 3 losses and 6 draws and advanced in the state tournament before succumbing to eventual 2011 State Champion St. Ignatius. While the team suffered some notable roster losses due to graduation, a strong nucleus of players return for 2012. Additionally, a steady stream of capable replacements is anticipated due to the coaching investments in the younger ages of the community’s soccer program and the Junior Varsity team over recent years.
Soccer diehards know that the strength of any team starts in the back line and Lakewood is fortunate to have the skills of senior Zack Fehrenbach, two-time letterman patrolling the goal. Zack had an impressive 1.1 goals against average in 2011, including 10 shutouts and has to be considered one of the top returning goalies in the region this season. Aiding the defensive effort will be a defensive back line that features two-time letter winners senior Aaron Donahoe and junior Jameson Foran. Donahoe’s leadership and experience will be leaned on heavily to get the backline working as a team. Foran, who led the team in defensive takeaways in 2011, will be asked to do more this season by initiating passes that trigger the offense. Junior David Kemp, senior Tyler Sanovich, sophomore Grant Senger and impressive freshman Johnny Virag are competing for the remaining two spots on the back line.
Midfield is where ball possession and winning contestable 50-50 balls separate winners from losers. The Rangers will be solid up the middle with two-time lettermen Dobrica Sucevic and Dino Papagianas manning the critical two center midfield positions. Sucevic, a 2011 Northeast Ohio Conference first team and All-Greater Cleveland performer has already caught the attention of college talent scouts and will be a key cog in the offense. At press time both right and left midfield positions were being highly contested amongst senior Kevin Mann, and juniors Justice White, David Kemp and Alan Mika.
Scoring punch is usually delivered by the two forward positions and that formula will be no different for this Ranger team. Senior Mirsad Curri will move up front from the defensive line and will be counted on heavily to use both his size and soccer acumen to get the Rangers on the scoreboard. Junior Edvin Rosic and senior Kevin Mann will duel for playing time at the other forward position.
The Ranger soccer season opens on Saturday, August 18 with a 1:00 p.m. start at Lakewood Stadium against the Valley Forge Patriots. The team is anxious to get the 2012 campaign underway and to see how they stack up against the best teams in the area.