Lakeview boys looking for continued success

Last year, the Lakeview Bulldogs were taken to double overtime in the district final before they lost to Howland, 1-0. For Lakeview, it is now about getting back to that spot — and more — as the team looks a little different than the year before.

“The last two years, we are a combined 35-3 with one tie,” Lakeview coach Bryan Phillips said. “We have a district final win in 2016 and we lost the district final game in a shootout in 2017 to Howland. That sets the bar very high for this team to continue that winning tradition.”

Lakeview returns 11 letterwinners from a year ago. That includes nine seniors, such as second team All-District player Jeff Remmick and first-team All-County player Vinnie Rienzi.

Now for the Bulldogs, it is about competing in a new conference, the North East 8, and competing well.

“Our team goals are always the same” Phillips said. “They are to win 10-plus games, win our league and make it to the district finals. This team will rely very heavily on its senior captains Jeff Remmick, Vinnie Rienzi and Nathan Barber.”

With those nine returning seniors plus three other seniors and a ton of experience, the Bulldogs have everything they need to make a repeat trip back to the district championship game.

“I have 11 seniors,” Phillips said. “Only five of them played a major role in last year’s team. There will be a lot of new roles for players this season. The three senior captains I mentioned above will be relied upon heavily.”

For now, Lakeview is concerned with the present.

“Joining a new league and adding a couple new opponents makes our schedule more difficult than it has ever been,” Phillips said. “I expect us to struggle a little bit early in the season.”

For Phillips and the Bulldogs, early-season struggles aren’t going to be terrible enough to ruin the year.

“I am looking forward to watching them grow as a team and I expect us to be playing our best soccer come October,” he said.

If the last two years are any indication, that statement could be true again.