Don’t look now, but the boys soccer team may be a serious contender in Northeast Ohio.
After dropping the first game of the season to Amherst High School, the squad has come roaring back winning six straight games — including convincing victories over local perennial powerhouses Bay Village and Westlake high schools.
During their six-game win streak, the Rangers outscored their opponents 27 to 2.
Don’t be, says head coach Andy Toth.
“We’ve had a pretty good program here,” said the fifth-year coach. “We work very hard. We have a certain philosophy and style of play: we want the ball. When we’re clicking, we’re a very good team.”
Last season, the Rangers finished 8-6, but the season before they finished with an impressive 12-4 record.
With seven seniors on the team — led by midfielders Eric Kunze and Jacob Shelt — Toth said he’s got plenty of leadership again this year.
“We have a lot of guys scoring goals,” he said. “But we’ve got a good balance of sophomores, juniors and seniors.”
The Rangers will try to knockoff undefeated, cross-town rival as they battle for the Lakewood Community Cup tonight at Coughlin Field.
Lakewood won the trophy last year for the first time — ever.
“We love playing this game,” Toth said. “It means everything to our boys. We don’t talk about it too much. We play for the trophy. We have a lot of respect for St. Ed’s, but there’s obviously a rivalry.”
Toth said the team keeps improving.
In its last scrimmage before the regular season, the Rangers lost to defending state champs St. Ignatius, 2-1, in a “very close game.”
In their first regular season game, the Rangers "came out a little flat,” losing to Amherst, 2-1.
They haven’t looked back.
“We know we’re a good team,” Toth said. “We know that if we keep getting better, at the end of the year, we’re going to be a team to be reckoned with.”
How does Toth feel about his team’s chances of keeping the Community Cup?
“We feel good about ourselves,” he said. “They’ve got a pretty good team. We know what we’re getting into. I think we’ll have something for them, like we do every year.”
The game is set to take place at at 7 p.m. tonight.
Season at a glance:
- Amherst, 5, Lakewood, 1
- Lakewood, 4, Garfield Heights, 0
- Lakewood, 9, North Ridgeville, 1
- Lakewood, 3, Olmsted Falls, 0
- Lakewood, 5, Rocky River, 0
- Lakewood, 2, Westlake, 1
- Lakewood, 4, Normandy, 0