Lake girls soccer aims for regional title

MILLBURY – The Lake girls soccer team was just 24 hours removed from taking the furthest step in the
program’s history Thursday, and the celebration period was long over.
After a 2-1 victory over Ontario Wednesday in regional semifinal action, the Flyers and coach Steve
Hoffman set their sights on winning just the fourth regional title in the history of Lake athletics. The
Flyers will meet St. Marys Memorial High School Saturday at noon at Findlay High School’s Graham
Memorial Stadium. The winner moves on to the Division II state semifinals next Wednesday in Medina.
"I couldn’t sleep (Wednesday) night because I was too excited," said Hoffman, who is in his
second year. "But (Thursday) it was back to reality and the fact that we’re one of eight remaining
teams, so we’re right back to hard practices as usual."
Lake, 19-1-1, got to the regional semifinals for the first time in program history last season, losing
2-1 to Liberty-Benton. It was the same place the Roughriders, 16-4-1, finished last season, losing 2-0
to eventual state runner-up Akron Archbishop Hoban. The appearance in the regional championship is also
the first for St. Marys.
"It seems like (Memorial) has three or four kids up for all-district honors each year," said
Hoffman. "Basically what I know about them is they score a lot of goals and they’ll be a
Senior midfielder Samantha Davenport leads the Roughriders with 45 points on 21 goals and three assists.
Senior Katie Burke ranks third in Division II with 19 assists, in front of Lake’s freshman midfielder
Shelby Antonacci, who is fourth with 17. Antonacci leads the Flyers with 49 points, while Drew Plummer
leads in goals with 17.
Memorial averages 2.48 goals per game, giving up just 10 in 21 games for a 0.48 average. Lake is
averaging 3.52 and 0.52, surrendering 11 goals in 21 games. Freshman Ashley Timmons has 135 saves for
Lake with 11 shutouts.
"Goals bring out the fans, but defense wins championships," said Hoffman. "That’s pretty
much what we’re hanging our hat on. Eventually we feel we’re going to score, but we’re also going to
play the solid defense we’ve played all season."
That same defense for the Flyers limited Ontario to 11 total shots on net in the semifinal game, as Lake
was one of the only teams to out-shoot the Warriors all season with 13 shots on goal.
"(Ontario) was known for its speed up top," said Hoffman. "I thought our defense at
midfield and our defense, as a whole, did a very nice job of containment.
"Really the one shot they got on us that scored was from 35 yards out," Hoffman continued.
"So we did a good job of controlling the game and did what we needed."
The Flyers, who have just two seniors and eight freshmen, have been doing what they’ve needed all year
long and confidence has been a factor.
"We were in awe when we got this far last year," said Hoffman, of his 12-4-4 squad.
"Making regionals hasn’t lost its luster for us, but the girls aren’t surprised we’re here this
time around. Many were on our undefeated basketball team too that made a run."
A win Saturday and the Flyers will be the first Lake team to qualify for the state Final Four since the
baseball team did so in 2001 with a 23-6 record. Lake has only made it to state in baseball, also going
in 1935 and 1956.
"You can’t hope to be any more competitive than we are right now," said Hoffman. "We’re on
a nice high and playing some really good soccer, which if we continue to do and execute our game, we’ll
be tough to beat."
WHAT: Division II regional final girls soccer tournament.
¥ WHERE: Findlay High School
¥ WHEN: Saturday noon.
¥ PAIRINGS: Lake (19-1-1) vs, St. Mary’s Memorial (16-4-1). Winner advances to state semifinals Wednesday
at 7 p.m. vs. the Hathaway Brown-Chagrin Falls winner at Medina High School.
¥ TICKETS: There is no presale of tickets. All tickets will be sold at the gate.
¥ DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 75 south to exit 159, U.S. 224/Ohio 15 West. Turn left over the overpass
and then turn right onto Broad Avenue. Proceed past the first entrance into high school and then turn
right at the end of the school complex. There is a gravel parking lot for the soccer stadium.