Lacer says Rockets won’t miss a beat in boys soccer

J. Patrick Eaken

        Ryan Lacer takes the helm of the Oak Harbor boys soccer program after serving as an assistant for nine years under coach Ken Filar.
        Last year behind the play of senior forward and Division II second team All-Ohioan Aidan Barton, the Rockets finished 14-3-1 overall and 7-2-1 in the Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division, good enough for second place behind Edison. Lacer believes the Rockets can be in the thick of things again.
        “We expect to be battling for a league championship again this year,” Lacer said. “The competition in the SBC Bay is always tough. Huron and Edison will be good again and Willard is improving every year. It’s a battle every league game.
        “My midfielders will be the key this year. They feed off each other and know what the other is going to do. They are great communicators on the field,” Lacer continued. “The defense is a little weak this year only having one returning starter and playing a new goalkeeper.”
        What Lacer sees as inexperience is made up for by effort, he adds, and that includes his players and coaching staff.
        “The boys have been working hard all summer and look forward to a good season. I have a good coaching staff helping me in my first year. Grant LaPeer is my junior varsity coach and assistant. Tyler Eoff has been helping this summer and Trent Lacer has been working with the goalkeepers.
        The Rockets return nine lettermen, including senior midfielder Levi Jacobs, senior defenseman Luke Jacobs, junior defenseman Michael Judge and junior midfielders Josh Collins and Mason Gradel.
        Levi Jacobs was a second team All-SBC Bay Division award winner and Luke Jacobs was honorable mention All-SBC Bay Division.
        Last year, Barton was Oak Harbor’s leader in goals (29) and assists (11) for the second straight season. He was a two-time first team All-SBC and all-district selection, but with his graduation not a lot of scoring returns. Josh Collins had five goals and eight assists last year and Levi Jacobs had three goals and four assists.
        Expected to bring some new scoring opportunities to the Rockets’ front line are Nathan Noble and Noah Mylander.
        “(Noble) plays smart and can score with either foot and Noah Mylander sees the field well and has a very nice shot,” Lacer said.
        Coach Lacer says at midfield, “Levi Jacobs, Josh Collins and Mason Grade have great field vision and can handle the ball very well. They also defend well and can transition to help in the attacking one-third, too.
        “Josh Collins has worked extremely hard on his foot skills and his conditioning. Levi Jacobs sees the field well and distributes the ball well.”
        Lacer says that on defense, “Luke Jacobs is a returning starter in the back and sees the field well. Michael Judge is a great on ball defender who doesn’t panic.”
        In goal, the first-year coach says “Danny Tack has worked hard in the offseason and has been training with Trent Lacer, who is a former alumni goalkeeper.”
        Other newcomer includes sophomore Andan Ernsberger, who Lacer says “has improved a lot and should see plenty of varsity time this year. Andrew Swartzlander took a year off last year but is back this year and has worked hard and will be a key defender.”



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