Philip Chittaro wasn’t about to see his Lakeview boys soccer team go down without a fight.
So that was the reason he and his Lions team (9-7-1) couldn’t feel too upset after falling 4-0 to Whitefield Academy in the opening round of the Class A playoffs Wednesday evening at Jock Hornor Field.
“We changed formation, went for a strong edge on offense, and it was a chance I was willing to take,” said Lakeview coach Philip Chittaro. “It’s about putting the best possible gameplan out there and hoping it works.”
Wolfpack striker Josh Orr registered a second-half hat trick, including a converted penalty that came when Lakeview goalkeeper Ben Eades collided with Whitfield’s Chip Soud in the 58th minute. Soud received treatment for his injuries and walked off the field under his own power.
Lakeview Academy’s backup keeper Steven Kemp took over for Eades and registered three saves in the final stretch.
Whitefield Academy (11-5-1) will next travel to Marietta to face Region 7 champion Walker in the second round of the tournament. Lakeview Academy entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed from Region 8.
Following a scoreless first half, Chittaro decided to switch from a 4-5-1 formation to a 4-4-2 that pushed an extra striker forward, but left the Lions more vulnerable in defense.
Kerry Martin notched the opener off a corner from the far side with four minutes gone in the second half. The play followed directly after Lakeview’s Andrew Miller Bell put Wolfpack goalkeeper John Matherne at a full stretch to save Bell’s free kick on the other end of the field just a minute prior.
But Martin’s opener allowed Orr to tack on Whitefield’s second goal just a minute later, this time from a well-worked free kick that saw Orr slip into an open spot on the left side of the 6-yard box.
“I’m kind of speechless,” said Whitefield coach Jamie Heiskell. “It’s great to see us put it all together like that. We’ve been practicing (set pieces) a lot and we did really well to get out like that in the second half.”
Orr tapped home from close-range to make it 3-0 Whitefield in the 30th minute after Lakeview defenders failed to clear a corner. Soon after, Eades and Soud came together in the box, which led to a 10-minute delay as Soud was given attention by the coaching staff.
Lakeview was nearly gifted a consolation goal with 19 minutes remaining. Whitefield’s Stephen Hellier was fortunate to see his deflection off a Lakeview corner kick trickle harmlessly back to Matherne instead of back into his own net.
Lakeview will graduate four seniors, but Chittaro said he has confidence that his Lions team can rebound for next season.
“This is a mature team that’s ready to go again,” said Chittaro. “They know what’s at stake.”
LAKEVIEW GIRLS TO START PLAYOFFS IN SECOND ROUND: The Lakeview girls soccer team received a first-round bye in the Class A state tournament, and will host the winner of the Mount Paran/Mount Pisgah Christian matchup in the second round on May 4.