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May 10, 2013

Lamphere soccer aims for the top

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Lamphere’s Taylor Kelly makes a play during a game against Utica April 8. The Rams will have the opportunity to compete for a district championship later this month.

Since 2008, Lamphere’s girls soccer program has had a very respectable record of 80-28-12 and has two Macomb Area Conference Blue Division titles to its credit.

Over that span, the Rams finished within the top two of their division each season, with the exception of last year, when they finished in third place.

First-year coach Curtis Ward would like to help the Rams continue to be near the top of their division, this season and beyond. He has given some thought as to what his long-term goals are for Lamphere’s soccer program.

“To be in the hunt every year for, at least, a league title,” he said. “And for the kids to have fun out there and do well for their school. The objective is to be competitive for the school. It’s nice to win games more than you lose, but certainly to go out there and be competitive. The goal here’s to get better each and every game.”

At press time, Lamphere was 5-3-1 in the Macomb Area Conference White Division (6-5-1 overall), behind division-leader Anchor Bay (7-1-2 MAC White, 9-1-2 overall). The Tars were undefeated until Lamphere handed them their first loss in a 2-1 decision April 6.

Defeating Anchor Bay wasn’t Lamphere’s only substantial victory of the season. The Rams also defeated Grosse Pointe South, 1-0 earlier this year. South competes in the MAC Red and hopes to contend for a state championship.

While those could be considered signature victories for the program, Ward would prefer his team doesn’t do too much dwelling on the past.

“Every time you win a game, it’s a good result, but you don’t (want to) get overconfident,” he said. “You won’t do well unless you’re really focused, so I don’t (want to) say each victory is something that’s (going to) carry on throughout the rest of the year. You hope it does, but you want to make sure you practice the right way, stay focused and don’t overlook any opponent. That’s the key.”

Concentrating on the task at hand can be made much easier with a large number of veteran players on the roster, and the Rams have exactly that, as 10 of their 14 players, according to the coach, are seniors. According to Ward, they have helped make his job as the team’s first-year coach an easier one.

“All the kids are competing hard,” he said. “It helps to have senior leadership. They come out and make sure we train hard and play hard. They don’t really complain about a whole lot of stuff, which is nice. Most of the team is seniors, so I don’t have really any issues at all. They all come out and do their job.”

As much as Ward may want his cast of veteran players to help lead the Rams to a MAC White championship, he is also aware of the challenge before the rams.

“Very competitive,” he said of the MAC White. “We got some good teams that, at any given time, can come out and beat you in a game. (Keeping) our focus is the most important thing, and taking each game one at a time — not overlooking the game to get to the next game.”

As nice as a league championship may be, senior Victoria Borngesser has an even loftier goal. Lamphere lost a district final game to Bloomfield Hills Marian 2-1 in 2012.

She would like to create some better memories this time around.

“To win the state championship,” Borngesser said. “That’s our biggest goal, but first to get past districts and beat Marian.”

Julia Mohan, also a senior, offered a similar sentiment.

“Making it to states, (and) hopefully winning,” she said. “That would be great.”

Sophomore Isabelle Clarke has also given some thought to the postseason.

“Making it to states, or at least past districts, is the main goal,” she said. “Get further than we did last year.”

Lamphere is scheduled to compete in a Division 2 district tournament May 28-June 1, hosted by Marian.

The Rams are next scheduled to be in action at 7 p.m. May 15 in a road game against Macomb Dakota.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.