Prep notebook: Lakewood girls soccer off to best start in 8 years

The Cougars entered Monday night unbeaten through nine matches, with five wins and four draws.

The Lakewood High School girls soccer team is off to its best start in eight years.

Heading into Monday night’s match against Burlington-Edison, the Cougars were unbeaten, with five wins and four draws. Lakewood already has matched its win total from last year and is on pace for the program’s first winning season since 2011.

“If you had told me (at the start of the season) that we’d have five wins, four ties, no losses, I would’ve said, ‘You’re crazy,’ ” Cougars coach Nick Anderson said. “Brilliant start.”

Lakewood (5-0-4 overall, 3-0-3 Northwest Conference) entered Monday having outscored opponents 19-7 through nine matches. Seven different players had scored for the Cougars and eight had provided assists.

“The key to the success has been the team really rallying around each other,” Anderson said. “We’ve got a whole bunch of different personalities — incredible athletes, incredible soccer players, but they all come from different clubs, different teams, different philosophies.

“This team specifically — more than any team I’ve worked with before — is really buying around our game plan.”

Anderson said the team implemented a three-to-one praise-to-criticism ratio, meaning there have to be three positive comments for every critique.

“I know that sounds like a whole bunch of … fluff, but it’s outstanding how it works out,” Anderson said. “When the girls are constantly being validated and affirmed either in their accomplishments or what they’re trying to accomplish, it makes it so that when they critique each other, it means a lot more.

“(That) behavioral piece has really raised the bar of the quality of play.”

Shorewood’s Heagler honored

Shorewood volleyball player Lucy Heagler was named an Athlete of the Week by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association for Sept. 22-28. The junior posted 14 digs, 10 kills, two blocks and a .368 hitting percentage in a sweep of Marysville Getchell on Sept. 24.

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