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Lake Shore soccer, Bergum take shot at sectional crown

RECORD SCORER — Wade Bergum will go down as lake Shore’s all-time top scorer, but he also wants a title before he’d done. Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes.
When Lake Shore senior Wade Bergum gets his leg into a ball, it does not look like a regular high school soccer player taking a shot, according to Paul Taylor.

The Eagles’ boys soccer head coach said it reminds him more of a man playing the sport at a higher level.

“Of all of the players I’ve ever coached, he can strike a ball harder than most adults,” said Taylor, a former player at Lake Shore, who has headed the team the past four seasons. “That’s one of his assets. When he gets that ball on target, it’s hard for any high school player to stop it.”

Bergum has been playing at another level for a while now, as he developed into the most prolific scorer Lake Shore has ever seen, during his four-year varsity career.

Following a single-season, record-breaking scoring season in 2012 in which he netted 28 goals, Bergum has not quite matched those numbers, but has put up 14 goals and seven assists. He now has 55 for his varsity career.

“It’s crazy to think about it,” said Bergum, who noted he wants to play in college but is still undecided about where to attend. “I feel honored to accomplish what I have. We’ve also got a great goalie [Bryce Parker-Norton], some great midfield play and strong defense, too.”

With Bergum and company, Lake Shore has had another winning season, taking second in Erie County Interscholastic Division III at 7 – 4 – 1 and garnering the third seed in Class A-2. Last season, the Eagles got off to a quick start and broke a program record with 12 wins, but suffered an early exit from the postseason.

This year, after a slower start, Lake Shore is playing some of its best soccer, right now. The Eagles received a first round bye to a home quarterfinal on Oct. 23.

“We’re hoping to make a good sectional run; I feel like we have a good chance,” Bergum said. “We’re playing well at the end of the season – perfect timing. Last year, we started off hot and slowed down, and this year it’s the opposite, so we’re heating up.”

Like his team, Bergum is sizzling down the stretch run. He’s netted 10 of those goals during the past five games. Lake Shore finished 6 – 2 – 1, after splitting its first six games.

“We look to build as a team and attack and defend as a team, but he’s certainly our goal scorer and the guy we look to for offense,” Taylor said. “He has again, this year, and has started to really hit his stride. We’re hoping to get him going in the playoffs, too.”

Bergum has been doubled and shadowed by defenders all season, so Taylor said it’s an accomplishment alone, to score as much as he has, with all of that attention.

“Yeah, it’s definitely harder now,” Bergum said, about the attention he garners. “I have to work 10 times harder now to get open and create opportunities.”

Taylor said it was an easy decision to make Begum a captain, because of the athlete’s leadership skills and in seeing that players gravitate toward him, because of his skill level.

Bergum’s skills have tended to overshadow the play of another record-setting Lake Shore player and senior captain, Bryce Parker-Norton, who has manned the goal the past two seasons.

“He’s one of the best goalies in Western New York,” said Taylor, who noted that his goalie played one of his best games in a 2 – 0 loss to state-ranked East Aurora. “He does a nice job. As we move on and play some of the stronger schools, we’re going to rely on him to help us in the back end.

Parker-Norton set the shutout record last year with seven and is only one off that pace this season, after getting past an early-season thumb injury. The two seniors have been friends for years and said they appreciate what the other brings to the table. They’re hoping to continue the ride a while longer.

“It’s kind of been the other way around of last year, so we’re hoping things we’ll be even better for us at the end of this year,” Parker-Norton said. “I feel like we can win the sectional title this year and I’m pretty sure everyone on the team feels that way, too.”

Also for Lake Shore, fellow senior Ken Pierce has added 5 goals and Wade’s sophomore brother, Alex Bergum, has contributed 4. Senior central defender Jerry Yeates has stepped up his play to lead the backline and help keep many shots manageable for Parker-Norton.

“The backline has come around better than I’ve ever see before – it may even be better than last year’s defense,” he said. “Any shots I face, I think I can handle, so we’re in really good shape, going into sectionals.”

Lake Shore lost 10 seniors from 2012, but had another group of 10 seniors and some youngsters step up. Taylor pointed out that this was a different group, though, so the team has made some changes tactically, to play more to its’ strengths. Taylor said his team has done a nice job of adjusting, led by leaders like Bergum and Parker-Norton.
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