Cavs building on foundation

Published 9:17 pm Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Lakeland High School boys’ soccer team is ready to take on the new year, and second-year coach Austin Kulp is willing to keep building on his foundation.

The team did not have that strong of a season last year, but in the new season, the Cavs are looking to change that. In years past, the boys’ soccer team has gone through a lot of changes, such as having new coaches year after year. In the second year of Kulp’s leadership, he is seeking to create some stability.

“Before I got here, there was a lot of change going on coaching wise,” Kulp said. “I just want to bring some stability to the program and be here for a long time to help continue building on our foundation. They are all great kids and fun to be around. We just have to continue to get better.”

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This season, the Cavs will be returning junior midfielder Ryan Wright. Wright had a solid season for the Cavs last year. Hunter Rawls will also return for the Cavs. He was an All-Conference 27 selection last year for Lakeland. He is also expected to continue to help in the midfield as well. The talent level is pretty even across the field for Lakeland, which will help the team continue to ascend together.

“I don’t think any part of the team will be heads or tails above each other, but my kids work hard,” Kulp said. “They are really coachable and hardworking kids. We are going to have a collective unit this year. Because the kids want to play for each other, I think that will keep us close in games.”

As a coach, Kulp pushes the philosophy of being a good student first. He believes if his players are successful in the classroom, it will translate onto the field and throughout their lives. He wants his team to build character through soccer to help them become better people.

Lakeland will be on the road this Friday against Oscar Smith High School, and Kulp is looking forward to seeing his team put together a solid game on the road. The Cavs want to focus on defending well, which will give them chances to stay in games.

Lakeland will play at Oscar Smith at 5:30 p.m. Friday.