WARREN — Reid Friedrichs admitted he was a little nervous as the season got under way.
He had plenty of reason to be, as the new Warren De La Salle soccer coach saw his team go winless and goalless in a preseason scrimmage competition with three other squads.
But the Pilots have been cruising right along ever since, improving every aspect of their game.
“From where we began, we’ve really, really improved a lot faster than I thought we would,” Friedrichs said. “We’ve made a lot of progress in a really short amount of time. A lot of credit goes to the kids.”
The Pilots were 5-0-2 as they prepared to take on Utica Ford II Aug. 28 at Macomb Community College.
“We’ve got some cohesion with the coaching staff,” Friedrichs said. “The boys have really paid attention and done the things we’ve asked them to do. They’ve gotten better by working hard, that’s a really good thing.”
The coach added that the team has plenty of work to do as it enters the always tough Catholic High School League Central Division schedule portion of their season.
To continue achieving success and improving, Friedrichs will look to a core group of players.
Forward Austin Willenbrock has proven to be the team’s top offensive threat, racking up a handful of goals and assists in the Pilots’ first few games.
“He’s done really good up top,” Friedrichs said.
Defensively, the coach highlighted the play of Matt Maisonneuve.
“He’s been very been very solid,” he said.
Friedrichs described goalkeeper Jake Townsley as a “very good keeper,” with “good size and athleticism.”
And midfielder Steve Lockhart “has been doing real well,” according to the coach.
Lockhart, a senior captain from Grosse Pointe, said the key to the Pilots’ success so far has been their hard work.
“We want to keep that up for the rest of the season, because that’s what drives us,” he said. “When we go down a goal, we don’t hang our heads, we come right back.”
He added that, despite the changes in the program, the team’s goals remain the same — winning as many games as possible, and claiming the Catholic League title and the state championship.
“We have high expectations for this season,” he said.