Lakeview soccer controls its destiny in the MAC Blue

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published May 8, 2024

 Lakeview senior Jill Ostrowski sends a kick during a matchup against St. Clair on April 29 at Lakeview High School.

Lakeview senior Jill Ostrowski sends a kick during a matchup against St. Clair on April 29 at Lakeview High School.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Lakeview senior goalkeeper Autumn Wirick handles the ball during the 1-0 shutout against league rival St. Clair.

Lakeview senior goalkeeper Autumn Wirick handles the ball during the 1-0 shutout against league rival St. Clair.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


ST. CLAIR SHORES — There are certain things that just eat away at a team.

For St. Clair Shores Lakeview girls soccer, falling short in the district finals for two straight years and still having no answers for St. Clair, the Macomb Area Conference Blue champion the past two seasons, are two of the things at the very top.

Since joining the MAC Blue in 2019, St. Clair has had Lakeview’s number year in and year out in the league, but the Huskies decided to put an end to the constant struggle once and for all.

Beating St. Clair 1-0 on April 29 and improving to 7-0 in the league, Lakeview (11-0-1, 8-0 in the MAC Blue) now controls its own destiny in the journey for the school’s first league title since 2013.

Lakeview’s return to the top has been brewing for quite some time after the incoming post-COVID group returned winning consistency to Lakeview soccer. The program went 9-9 in 2021, 11-7 in 2022, and 16-4 in 2023.

“We had just a good core of girls come in,” Lakeview head coach Simon Miners said. “We had a couple girls with Sophia Stanton and Maggie Kinsora start as freshman, so we had a good core three years ago come in. Oftentimes you lose a big class and the bulk of your team, and we’ve been fairly fortunate in the sense of what we lost hasn’t been a huge bulk of the team.”

If you took one look at the results of each game this season, the Huskies’ strength would take about two seconds to locate.

Senior goalkeeper Autumn Wirick, a multisport athlete at Lakeview as a center for varsity basketball and middle blocker/outside hitter for volleyball, carries 11 shutouts this season in net.

Wirick has an impressive skill set that makes it difficult for any team to sneak one past her, but she said all credit is due to her backline.

“This is the best defensive line I’ve had in the four years that I’ve played,” Wirick said. “I touch maybe two balls a game, which is really fun.”

To the backline’s credit, they’re a veteran-heavy group consisting of a core of seniors leading the way.

Senior captain Sara Linsdeau headlines the group alongside senior Eleni Kolizeras and senior Sophia Gianino while Stanton and newcomer AJ Jacquemain, a junior playing her first year of high school soccer, have also contributed to the defensive efforts.

Jacquemain, a center back for Lakeview, previously played club soccer for the Nationals before joining the Huskies.

With her talent added to an already loaded defensive unit, it’s understandable why Wirick doesn’t see much action in net.

Linsdeau said the mental side of her game has vastly improved since last year.

“For me, I’ve been able to see the field more clearly because before I would get in my head and not know where everyone was,” Linsdeau said. “Now, I look up and see where my teammates are and see the spaces in the field.”

The Huskies’ offensive attack is still a work in progress in terms of consistency, but freshman Vanessa Parker, senior Jill Ostrowski, senior Leia Dayble, senior captain Jordyn Yezback-Hadley, sophomore Tessa Brown, and Kinsora have all been consistent contributors.

Parker plays about as quickly as she made her presence felt on the field, filling up the score sheet on a constant basis since joining the varsity squad.

Whether it’s newcomers or veterans, everyone is playing a part in the team’s search for a MAC Blue title.

“There’s a core group of girls that have been playing together for a while now, and I think that we’re very comfortable playing with each other and the new girls that come in meshed very well,” Linsdeau said.

St. Clair (6-1 in the league) is the only two teams within striking distance of Lakeview for the league crown, and they will see Lakeview again before the conclusion of the regular season.

Lakeview is slated to face St. Clair on the road to close out its regular season on May 20, which could be a league-deciding matchup.

For a senior-heavy group, it’s their last shot at bringing home the league for the first time in over a decade, and Miners said the veterans understand the urgency to do so.

“I think you get that regardless of where you are, whether you’re the bottom of the (MAC) Gold division or the top of the (MAC) Red,” Miners said. “It’s your senior year, right? You’re never going to do this again. It’s an emotional ride, as well as for pride as well. You always get that, regardless of where you are. Having the opportunity to potentially win a division and potentially win a district will certainly factor into their emotions.”

Once the league goal is completed, the Huskies will turn their attention to districts, which has been unkind the past two years.

Reaching the district finals hasn’t been the issue, but winning the district championship continues to be a thorn in Lakeview’s side.

Maybe ending two droughts will be the senior class’s final goal for the program.

“Losing districts in the finals two years in a row really has a bitter taste in our mouths,” Wirick said.