The Lakewood boys soccer team hosted the Stanwood Spartans and the Sultan Turks for their annual jamboree to kick off the season on March 7.
During the jamboree the Cougars’ varsity lineup was able to play one 20-minute half against each of the visiting teams. The Spartans were up first as Lakewood was able to get aggressive early and force a lot of possessions deep into their opponent’s territory. Stanwood was able to keep the ball out of the net but failed to put much pressure on the Cougars until late in the scrimmage. In the end neither team scored, and the match finished as a tie.
In the second scrimmage Lakewood came out and showed off their athleticism as they used their speed to exploit holes in the Turks’ defense. The Cougars scored quickly in the fourth minute of the match, and then struck again in the fifth minute. After going up early, Lakewood kept the pressure on and walked away with the 2-0 shutout victory.
“We have a whole lot of new guys with a short time to gel, but they’ve come together and it was great to see their chemistry out there. Our program, historically, has had trouble with 50-50 challenges but today I’d be hard pressed to point out one time where we lost one of those battles,” said Lakewood Head Coach Nick Anderson.
Last season the Cougars went 0-12-1 in league play, 1-14-1 overall, and lost 11 seniors off last season’s varsity roster. Lakewood returns three starting players this year including team captains Tyler Rahberger, senior defender, and Juan Corrales, junior mid. They will rely on their experienced leaders to bring the rest of their young team up to speed early in the season.
Lakewood will look to their younger players and some unexpected foreign exchange students to play quality minutes in the starting rotation. Tanner Rahberger, sophomore mid, and Hong Yi-Wu, junior mid, both showed their ability to score in the jamboree as they accounted for both Cougar goals.
“This team is hungry and they’re ready to get out and show what they can do. They are playing with the fire of someone who wants to earn their spot on that field. I’m really excited about this group,” said Coach Anderson.
If you want to come out and support the Cougars their next home match will be against the Meridian Trojans on Tuesday, March 19, at 7 p.m.