LAKEVIEW — The Central State Activities Association league soccer title may very well come down to a rematch between the Lakeview Wildcats and Newaygo Lions.
As of now, the Lions have the advantage after Wednesday’s 2-1 win over the Wildcats. A fast start by Newaygo (5-2, 2-0) gave the Wildcats their first blemish of the season.
“It was a good beginning. When you can put the ball in the back of the net it’s a good thing,” Newaygo coach Matt Goebel said. “We had a chance early and finished, which is nice. We kept the pressure on and took advantage of some opportunities.
“We have a lot of young players and to be able to finish helps us out a lot,” he added.
Junior Lauren Thayer and freshman Mariah Villarreal scored first half goals to put the Lions up 2-0.
“We started off slow and they have speed up front. This is by far the fastest team we have played this year,” Lakeview coach Chris Smith said. “Right away to start we weren’t ready for their speed. They got two quick ones on us.
“Defensively, we were able to make some adjustments and do a better job. Turns out, that was a little too late,” he added.
Lakeview got on the board with 12:24 remaining in the first half on a goal by freshman Brookelyn Reed. Reed weaved through multiple defenders before taking the goal scoring shot to pull the Wildcats within one goal.
“She has some pretty nice footwork and dribbling skills,” Smith said of Reed. “She is a freshman and we have talked about using those skills to get the shot she wants instead of being forced too early.”
Newaygo controlled possession in the first half and had plenty of scoring chances. Lakeview didn’t really get going offensively until the second half.
“The entire first half Newaygo was beating us to every ball. It didn’t matter if it was coming from our team or theirs,” Smith said. “That was our biggest problem and at halftime we talked about going full speed to those balls. That really fixed most of our issues.”
The Wildcats had two scoring chances in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Both shots were stopped by Newaygo keeper Shelby Boyd.
“This wasn’t a game where our forwards could stay back and wait for the ball,” Smith said. “They knew they were going to have to come up and be a part of the play too. We did get a few more scoring chances in the second half.”
After playing most games this season in cold weather, Goebel said Wednesday’s 70 degree plus temperature affected both teams.
“I think both teams were used to the cold and snow and today with the heat they were not used to it,” Goebel said. “I think both teams wore down a little bit, but we still had some chances.”
Lakeview is now a half game back in the CSAA standings, but will face Newaygo again on the road May 20.
“We can still go there and get a split with them and at worst be co-champs,” Smith said. “We will see.”
Lakeview fell to 5-1 overall with the loss and 2-1 in the CSAA. They will host Ithaca on Friday.