LHS Boys Soccer Ends Regular Season With Big Win; Ready For Playoffs
The Lakewood High School Boys' Varsity Soccer team demonstrated the ability to come back in a number of games during the closing weeks of the regular season. The Rangers came away from their last five-game stretch of the season with 3 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie. Most impressive was a come-from-behind win in their final game when the Rangers beat the Avon Eagles 3-2 at Avon to secure sole possession of 2nd place in the West Shore Conference with a league record of 5-1-1. Bay Village won the league title with a record of 6-0-1 while Avon finished 3rd at 4-1-2.
For the season overall, the Ranger Boys won 9 matches, lost 5 and tied 2 earning the 5th overall seed for the upcoming district tournament. The Rangers open the tournament with a match versus the Garfield Heights Bulldogs. With a win, the team would advance to meet 3rd seed, the Brecksville Bees.
Lakewood 1, Midview Middies 0
The Rangers capitalized on a Jameson Foran goal off an assist by David Kemp late in the first half to hold off the Midview Middies 1-0 at Midview. The game winning goal by Foran was made possible by a hard, low corner kick by Kemp that skipped through the goal mouth and a number of Midview defenders. Foran who had slipped behind the defense on the back post punched the crossing ball past the goalie. Freshman John Virag played a strong game in controlling the midfield with his deft passing. He also came up with five steals. Junior Alain Mika in making the first start of his varsity career played very well and contributed four take-aways. Senior goalkeeper Zach Fehrenbach delivered another stellar game with eight saves and a shutout while Foran led the Rangers with nine take-aways.
Lakewood 3, Rocky River Pirates 2
Down 2-0 well into the 2nd half, Lakewood scored 3 goals in the span of 9 minutes to notch a key conference comeback win against the visiting Pirates. Senior forward and leading scorer, Mirsad Curri scored all 3 goals with important help from his teammates. Lakewood’s first two goals were scored off corner kicks by Jameson Foran. Mirsad Curri booted the first one through while the ball was still in the air and then headed in the second goal when he negotiated some excellent positioning in the crowded goal mouth area. The game-winning goal was scored by Curri on a beautiful through ball sent by freshman Jafar Fadhel, playing in his first varsity game. Freshman John Virag according to Coach Toth played his best game of the season and came up with a team high of nine take-aways. Goalkeeper Zach Fehrenbach kept the Pirates off the scoreboard the last 48 minutes of the game and contributed 7 saves.
Lakewood 0, Olmsted Falls Bulldogs 0
This match-up produced a draw in this defensive struggle. Olmsted Falls which came into the match a clear favorite given their 9-3-1 record was constantly frustrated by the Rangers ability to control the midfield and thwart any scoring efforts that the Bulldogs mounted. Senior Zach Fehrenbach earned his sixth shutout of the season and 17th of his career. Fehrenbach was called on to make six saves. Senior Aaron Donahoe demonstrated his senior leadership in keeping the defense well organized. Donahoe came up with eight take-aways. Junior Jameson Foran also stood out in keeping the shutout in order while leading the team with nine take-aways.
Lakewood 2, Westlake Demons 5
The Rangers comeback ability was again on display in this match played on the torn up and slippery Westlake pitch. Unfortunately for the Rangers, Westlake had a comeback punch of their own as they scored a 5-2 victory. After Westlake notched two early 2nd half goals to secure a demoralizing 3-0 lead, the Rangers struck back with goals at the 23rd and 28th minute respectively of the 2nd half. Senior midfielder Kevin Mann scored both goals with two powerful kicks that caught the corner of the net quickly making the score 3-2. Freshman John Virag assisted on the first goal while senior Aaron Donahoe provided the assist on the 2nd one. A stunned Westlake team quickly regrouped and scored two goals to extend their lead to 5-2 to again take ownership of the match. Aaron Donahoe led the Rangers as he played with a high energy and determination. He led the defense with a team game high of ten take-aways.
Lakewood 3, Avon Eagles 2
Trailing at two different points of this important clash between West Shore Conference leading teams, the Rangers prevailed with a regular season-ending win. The 3-2 victory secured sole possession of 2nd place in the conference. Down 1-0 in the waning minutes of the first half, junior Jameson Foran snaked his way through four different Avon defenders to chip a short pass to senior Mirsad Curri who socked home the tying goal in the upper right corner of the net. After Avon again took the lead early in the 2nd half, Mirsad Curri again found the net knotting the score off a nice through ball from senior Kevin Mann. Both teams then scoring chances denied by excellent play by each team’s goalies. However, in the closing minutes of the game, junior Alain Mika scored his first-ever goal for the Rangers off an unselfish pass from teammate Curri right in front of the Avon goal. With the win, senior goalkeeper Zach Fehrenbach established another Lakewood Varsity Soccer career mark recording his 22nd career win (to go with his other record of 17 career shutouts). Coach Andy Toth remarked that the Avon game was Lakewood’s best played game across its 16 game schedule and offered great encouragement as the team prepared for the district tournament.