Experienced Lake Forest soccer team off to 4-0 start

FELTON — Can a 4-10-1 season be considered a success?

While most coaches would be understandably upset with that record, that’s not what Lake Forest boys’ soccer coach Pietro Randazzo impressed upon his team at the end of last season and at the beginning of preseason practice this season.

“Last year’s players knew that I understood they were young and needed time to adjust to varsity soccer,” he said. “The freshmen that joined the team last year were talented but needed time to mature.

“Honestly, I was expecting a little more last season. However, I also realized, due to those challenges caused by inexperience, wins were going to be hard to come by.

“But I have to say that, even though we had a losing season, you could tell our players were learning what it takes to win.”

The Spartans did start the preseason with a positive attitude.

“Right from the first day of practice you could look at our team and definitely see there are a lot of players that understood how the game needs to be played,” Coach Randazzo said. “When you have that type of understanding, it’s easy for them to realize what you are trying to teach.”

If the start the Spartans have had this season is an indication, Coach Randazzo’s observations regarding his team’s progress last season along with their understanding this season definitely has merit.

Led by a stingy defense and an explosive offense Lake Forest ended the second week of the season with a perfect 4-0-0 record.

The Spartans opened the season with a hard fought 1-0 overtime win over Dickinson. Lake then followed with 8-2, 3-1 and 9-0 victories over St. Thomas More, Woodbridge and the DE Academy of Public Safety and Security respectively.

“We always prepare our team to challenge any opponent,” said Coach Randazzo. “So far this year our players are achieving that challenge, and I don’t see it changing no matter who we are playing.”

Lake’s successful start to the season is becoming contagious.

“I know there’s a lot more excitement for the game here at Lake,” Coach Randazzo said. “When I first came to the team I had maybe seven kids come out for the team. This year I had over 25 here on the first day of practice.

“Not only are we getting very good support from the students, I have noticed we are getting very good crowds at our games.”

One of the keys to the Spartans perfect start is junior goalie Lukas Razzano, who has allowed just three goals in the four games.

“There’s no doubt we are playing much better as a team this year,” he said. “My job in goal is much easier because of our defensive line of (sophomore) Brody O’Brien, (sophomore) Cameron Beulah and (junior) Cameron Jones.

“Playing great defense always comes down to communication. We are starting to understand each other more by realizing what each of us is going to do in certain situations.”

Not only is Lake’s defense tough to score on, it’s also an ignition point for the offense.

“We are using a new offense that’s actually started by the defense,” said Razzano. “[The defense] can see more of the field than the strikers can. So we communicate with them about what’s going on up field which allows us to start a counter attack quicker and better.”

According to their coach, the defense is one of the team’s strengths this season.

“We have a very technical defense that’s strong and quick,” said Coach Randazzo. “Our defense is part of our attacking strategy which gives our midfielders more of an opportunity for play making.”

Like the defense, the Spartans offense is playing very well so far this season.

Senior Parker Sard leads the team with five goals, followed by senior Tyler Mitchell and sophomore William Parker with three goals each and freshman Jonathan Gomez- Garcia and junior Kurt Moyer with two goals each.

Additional members of the team are assistant coach Fernando Villena, volunteer coach Wayne Tiller and players seniors Randy Dookran, Anthony Oviedo and Ethan Vogt, junior Coleman Morris and freshman Riley Sapp.

Even though his team is off to a great start, Coach Randazzo does have a concern “We have to avoid injuries because our bench is a little thin,” he said. “Our starting lineup is pretty much playing all 80 minutes of the game, which I actually feel is a positive.

“The positive is that our players stay with the game plan. I think it hurts a team for a time when the subs go in because it takes them time to adjust to the flow of game.”

This season’s utmost team goal is to extend the season.

“My goal, as well as the team’s, is to get to the playoffs because we came so close two years ago,” said Razzano. “As long as we continue to communicate as well as we are, I have no doubt we will be in the state tournament.”

Lake Forest played Sussex Central Tuesday (results of the game were not available at press time) and will host rival Milford Thursday starting at 4 p.m.

An important game ahead for the Spartans is a visit to perennial Henlopen South power Indian River Oct. 6.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.
[fbcomments url="" width="375" count="off" num="3"]