GIRLS SOCCER: Lake Orion stepping up in rebuild project under journeyman Chris Corteg | North Oakland Sports

GIRLS SOCCER: Lake Orion stepping up in rebuild project under journeyman Chris Corteg

| May 25, 2018 | Comments (0)




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LAKE ORION — In just two short years and it appears that Chris Corteg has aided and abetted in the righting the ship at Lake Orion.

And his actions are not a crime, but one of praise. 

He’s guided Lake Orion’s girls soccer program from murky waters back up to respectable levels in two seasons.

“We’ve won (a combined) 21 games the past two years after winning just one game the year before I got here,” noted Corteg, who has coached club, college, high school and semi-pro soccer teams in southeast Michigan for some 35 years. “I think overall the girls have responded. Chris Bell, the athletics director here at Lake Orion, brought me in to build this program back up. I was over at (Macomb) Dakota for two years before coming to Lake Orion and we had some success there. Dakota hadn’t done too much for a few years before I got there. I think Chris Bell saw that and gave me a shot.”

Entering the Division 1 postseason, Lake Orion posted a respectable 11-6-1 overall record and finished a perfect 6-0-0 in the OAA Blue Division. The Dragons have never been blown out during their losses, playing several powerhouse teams close. Lake Orion finished 10-6-2 in Corteg’s first season at the helm. 

“I may not be the best girl coach around. I tend to yell a lot and sometimes girls don’t handle that. But I think overall this group has responded,” said Corteg, who has a stacked resume that includes leading the Utica Eisenhower boys team to the 2004 Division 1 state runner-up trophy. “They are a great group of girls, willing to work hard and want to reach goals.”

Senior M/D Megan Danielson, who will play college ball in the fall at Division I Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, has emerged as a leader of this turnaround project.

“She can play just about everywhere. We’ll put her in the midfield or in the back. Wherever we need her — she’s that type of player,” praised Corteg. 

Senior goalkeeper Chelsea Styma has been a steadying presence in the backfield, while junior Hannah Buccellato often draws the assignment of marking the opposition’s top offensive threat.

“Chelsea is a solid high school goalkeeper and I think Hannah has been perhaps our most consistent player this year from her marking back position,” said Corteg.

Junior Marisa Szydlowski has been productive as a playmaker in the midfield. Highly-touted freshman Sophie Novak is the energizer bunny in the midfield and has played double duty this spring — she’s one of the state’s better middle distance runners in track and field — and has fit in nicely to the Dragons’ well-balanced offensive attack. 

Senior Mikayla Zimmerman (F), sophomore Haley Negri (M/F), junior Grace Lady (M), senior Megan Cullon (D) and freshman Melissa Normand (D) have also been solid contributors for the Dragons, who drew state powerhouse Utica Eisenhower in the pre-districts.

“We have a lot of girls that have played their part. You can’t win in soccer with just one or two really good players,” said Corteg. 

“Overall, I am pleased with the season we’ve had this year. We lost 12 (players) to graduation last season and we have nine seniors this year. That’s a lot of turnover, but we have some talented players that have come together,” continued Corteg. “I think our coaching staff has done a great job. Amanda Hutchinson is the varsity (assistant) and worked well with the girls. Jason Wise is another assistant, the goalkeepers coach, and has really helped this program out. We’ve had a lot of support from the parents and administration. It takes a lot of people and a lot of hard work to turn around a program. I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

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