LAKEVIEW — Goals have been hard to come by this season for the Lakeview Wildcats girls soccer team.
At least that was the case prior to Wednesday’s match at home against Big Rapids Crossroads, which saw the Wildcats score six goals, the last on a penalty kick, to defeat the Cougars 6-5 on a chilly, rainy afternoon.
“We haven’t scored that many goals all season. An 11 goal game? I would have never predicted that coming into this game,” Lakeview coach Chris Smith said. “We’ve been working on trying to score two goals in a game and not having to play so much defense. And then this turns into a shootout, both ways.”
Lakeview (7-5) caught a break to open the scoring just 3:24 into the game. Anniken Sletta’s shot hit the left post and deflected off Crossroads keeper Miranda Carlson into the goal.
Crossroads (8-3) scored a little more than four minutes later to tie the game (32:16 remaining) on a goal Katie Haner and assist by Alyssa Larson. Crossroads took the lead 2:34 later when Kourtney McKinnon scored for a 2-1 advantage.
“I was pleased. I thought we played well, we moved the ball well, we had the ball going to the corners well, but we just couldn’t finish when it came back across the middle,” Crossroads coach Ross Meads said. “We gave up some uncharacteristic goals, but I commend the girls. We were down all day and kept coming back.”
Lakeview’s second goal came from Brookelyn Reed with 27:57 remaining in the first half. Reed’s shot, from just outside the goalie box, skipped on the wet grass by Carlson to tie the game 2-2.
“There are some girls on each team that know each other and that brings out the competitive spirit,” Smith said. “We switched around our lineup a little bit and moved two or three girls around. We played last night (Tuesday) and scored one goal against a team not as good as this. So the moves sparked intensity tonight.”
The Cougars took a 3-2 lead on a goal by Kayla Kuenzel (Meron Slomp assisted) with 23:45 left in the half.
Scoring slowed with just two goals the remaining of the half, but both by the host Wildcats.
McKenzie Burns scored for Lakeview to tie the game 3-3 with 15:20 remaining, while Maddie Shurlow gave the Wildcats a halftime lead with just 23 seconds remaining. Shurlow’s shot floated up and over the head of Carlson as she moved out from the goal for a 4-3 advantage.
“I thought both teams played well on a cruddy day, on a wet field,” Meads said. “It was a good, clean, close game and fun to watch if you weren’t a coach.”
Early in the second half Crossroads tied the game 4-4 on a great shot by Larson. Her shot bended right-to-left over the head of Lakeview keeper Danielle Grant.
Reed scored her second goal to give the lead back to the Wildcats with 27:43.
The game’s final two goals would come with some controversy, as both goals came on penalty kicks.
The first penalty kick was in favor of Crossroads. A hand ball was called on Lakeview giving the Cougars an open look at the goal.
Larson scored her second goal on the penalty kick to the left of a diving Grant, who actually put a hand on the save attempt. The goal tied the game 5-5 with 17:10 remaining.
“She has been doing really well this season. It’s her third season on varsity,” Smith said of Grant. “She started out on varsity with pretty much no experience as a keeper. This is not her first really good game. She kept us in it against Ithaca (1-0 loss on Tuesday) and has a number of diving saves this year. She is having a great year.”
Grant made 12 saves.
The final goal of the game by Lakeview came after a penalty call inside the box. Reed was knocked to the ground and the referee called the penalty.
Shurlow stepped to the line and easily found the back of the goal for the game-winning score.
“I was disappointed with the penalty call at the end,” Meads said. “It was in the corner of the box, no legitimate scoring chance and they give the maximum penalty you can give in soccer. I don’t think in a 5-5 game that is a call you make.”
Smith felt the penalty kick by Crossroads was also questionable.
“I know he (Meads) wasn’t happy about the penalty kick, but the one they got was questionable, as well,” Smith said. “It’s a judgement call on the official whether the player meant to hand ball it or whether it hit her in the hand. I didn’t like the outcome of that one and he didn’t like outcome of this one. It kind of even itself out.”
Lakeview will look to keep the offense going when they travel to Grant on Friday for a CSAA matchup. Crossroads will face Roscommon on Friday.