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Bloomfield Hills

September 19, 2012

Coach, players motivated as Lahser soccer plays out its swan song

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Kristian Rego tries to get past a pair of Dearborn High defenders. Rego scored two goals in a 3-1 win at Dearborn Sept. 13. Lahser was 6-3-1 at press time.

DEARBORN — The end is imminent, the final chapter of a long and proud soccer tradition.

Some may view this as a sobering finish to a program that’s seen great heights over the years; a bitter conclusion to a team and school that will be no more.

Dougie MacAulay and his guys have a different take.

“We want to go out with a bang,” the Bloomfield Hills Lahser coach said last week. Lahser and Andover are set to become one school next fall, combining the sports programs, as well. “The guys are motivated by the fact that this is the last year. They’re hungry to send this program out on a good note.”

“Absolutely motivated,” senior Michael Reitmyer boasted about this year. “It’s our last chance to leave our mark on this team and this program. We want to go out on top.”

So far, so good for the Knights.

Following a 3-1 victory at Dearborn High Sept. 13, Lahser was 6-3-1 on the season, having already exceeded the win total from 2011.

“We lost a lot of kids from the 2010 team, and that hurt us last year,” MacAulay said. The 2010 squad finished the season 20-5-1 and fell in the Division 2 state final 2-1 to Grand Rapids Northview. Last year’s team won just five games. “This year, we only lost three guys, and when we’re healthy, we feel like we can play with just about anyone in the state.”

They were healthy at Dearborn, and it showed.

Lahser controlled the flow of the game from start to finish, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half, and aside from a minor breakdown on the lone Pioneers tally, essentially cruised to the two-goal win.

“We played our absolute best game of the season tonight,” MacAulay said afterward. “We possessed the ball, passed well, and attacked all night. This was our best game yet.”

Moving forward, he’s hoping for many more.

“To be honest, these guys are talking about winning a state title this year,” MacAulay said. “Defensively, we’re playing very strong, and that’s a big factor. And like I said, when healthy, this is a team that can beat anyone.”

Aside from allowing seven goals in a loss to Troy High, Lahser has allowed five in its eight other games.

“We feel like we have some of the best talent in the state, and when we play together, the chemistry is pretty special,” Reitmyer said. “That’s why we feel like we can win a state title.”

As for the motivation?

“This is it for Lahser soccer,” senior Kristian Rego added. “For the guys coming back next year, even for the coaches, there’s no telling who will be on the team, who will make it or even who the coach will be. So we have this year to prove our case. This is our chance to go out as a program on top.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.