Woodridge boys soccer opened the Todd Hartong Era in successful fashion Aug. 23.
The Bulldogs opened their regular season with a hard fought 2-1 victory at Lahoski Field.
"The game was a battle the entire night," Hartong said. "Lake plays it pretty tight down the middle, so they didn't allow us much space to play our possession game the way we like to."
Woodridge was able to seize the early lead, off a long ball from midfielder Devin O'Laughlin. The ball came to sophomore midfielder Aiden Hartong, whose service into the box eluded everyone and went into the net.
Woodridge struggled to maintain its possession in the first half, but was able to find a second goal in the 32nd minute in similar fashion to the first.
This time, it was midfielder Carter Hartong who sent the ball forward. Sophomore forward Dante Arstone collected it and served it forward, giving Woodridge a 2-0 lead at halftime.
"Both goals came from players trying to service the ball into the dangerous areas around the goal and, luckily, both went in," coach Hartong said. "I've never experienced two of those types of goals in a match my entire life."
Lake came out firing in the second half, which led to a lot of back-and-forth action.
The Blue Streaks made things interesting late, when they converted a corner kick into a goal in the 73rd minute. However, despite some tense moments late, Woodridge was able to hold on for the win.
Hartong said it was an ugly win for the Bulldogs, but he will take it, given that it was the season opener.
"As I said, it was a battle," coach Hartong said "We didn't play exceptionally well, but a win is a win in the end. We will definitely need to clean some things up if we want to keep getting results.
"One of our team goals was to improve in our performances against out-of-conference teams," he added. "Last year, on numerous occasions, we lost these close games to non-conference teams. Tonight, we were able to win that close game against a good Lake team."
Woodridge finished with a 12-4 edge in shots on goal and 4-2 edge in corner kicks.
Bulldogs goaltender Brett Lemke was credited with three saves in the win.
Woodridge set to open Portage Trail Conference Metro Division play Aug. 25 at Ravenna before travelling to Stow-Munroe Falls Aug. 27, but results of both games were not available at press time.
Woodridge will travel to Streetsboro Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.