Based on the players Lake's boys soccer team returns next season, Coach Chad Lillich's Flyers should be no one-hit wonder.
Last Saturday, Lake lost to Ottawa Hills 4-0 in the Division III regional finals at Findlay, snapping Lake's eight-game winning streak and ending its season at 15-5-1.
Ottawa Hills (18-3) followed by winning a state semifinal game and advancing to the state final game at Columbus’ Crew Stadium this past weekend. The Green Bears had two things the Flyers did not have last week — size and regional tournament experience. Lake, however, gained valuable experience this season, and the players will work on bulking up before the start of next season.
"Most of our kids don't play travel soccer," Lillich said. "We just started a travel program for our high school team. We'll have a little more experience coming back next year. Most of those kids for Ottawa Hills play at Pacesetter (in Sylvania). Our kids didn't before this year. We played indoors and in an outdoor summer league. That's why I think we had such a huge improvement."
The Flyers were 6-10 last season but will return all of their key players from 2008.
Freshman forward Osvaldo Paredes scored a school-record 22 goals during the regular season and added seven assists. Sophomore midfielder Drew Metz had 12 goals and a school-record 17 assists, and sophomore midfielder Nick McCarthy, who missed most of this season, scored two goals in the regional semifinals.
Junior keeper Scott Hartman, who played football last fall, had a school-record 148 saves with four shutouts and allowed 30 goals.
Other key returnees will include defenders Nick Byrd, Zach Sarka and Kegan Lucas, and midfielders Ricky Cox, Kyle Timbrook, John Eckenrode, Marcus Music, Paul Kidd and Bryant Philo.
Lillich said he hoped the Flyers don't forget what it felt like losing to Ottawa Hills in the regional finals.
"I told them it was a great year, but as good as it was, remember this feeling because it hurts," the coach said. "Hopefully, the next time around we won't have that feeling.
"We need to get in the weight room and get stronger and we still need to have a quicker touch with the ball. Strength is a big part of it. It's hard to be a sophomore or a freshman and bang bodies with a 195-pound senior. We have to work on that, the strength part of the game."
Lake graduates three seniors in Chris Henry, a forward-midfielder who got a lot of playing time, midfielder Matt Simkus and forward Chris Rollins.
"We should be pretty tough next year," Lillich said. "But, just because you played tough this year doesn't guarantee anything for next year."