CORTLAND - In the 76th minute, Lakeview's unblemished record looked to be in jeopardy, tied at home against Harding.
The eighth-ranked team in the state couldn't find the back of the net, and with Harding's defense holding firm, it seemed that the Bulldogs would only get the tie. That was before Jake Young stepped forward.
After the ball popped out of the Harding box, the senior midfielder sent a 20-yard rocket past Harding goalkeeper Charles Wargo, giving Lakeview the 1-0 win.
"It was a feeling of relief," Lakeview coach Nate Mailach said. "We knew it was going to be tough to sneak one past (Wargo). It took a long time, but we finally got one past him."
Controlling the aerial clashes throughout the match, the Bulldogs (10-0) pressed the entire second half looking for the game-winner.
Lakeview earned 12 corners in the match, including nine in the first 40 minutes. The team also had multiple free kicks from distance in the second half that were sent into the 18-yard box, causing all sorts of problems for the Raiders' (5-5) defense.
As frustrating as it was for the Bulldogs, Mailach said the team knew that the only way Lakeview would score against Harding was through aerial bombardment.
"We knew their game plan coming in was to put a lot of guys back and defend and try to spring somebody on the counterattack," Mailach said. "That's the only way you can score on that (defense). We can't dribble through the 10 guys they had playing defense, and we can't shoot through 10 guys."
Still, Harding's defense held strong, with Wargo putting in a strong performance. The senior goalkeeper recorded four saves and grabbed many balls in the air, stomping out any threats in the box.
"Wargo did a fantastic job," Harding coach Tilden Tatebe said. "He took a lot of shots on goal, and if just for that one, it'd be a draw."
Harding's depth also proved problematic for Lakeview. The Raiders subbed freely throughout the match and kept their players fresh, while Lakeview's starters played most of the match and looked tired by game's end.
Mailach said that his players weren't used to playing entire matches recently, with many going 40-60 minutes before exiting the field in the past two weeks. Also, the team was without senior defender Jacob Colbrunn, who missed because of injury.
"Harding's the first team that's been able to match our speed this year," Mailach said. "We haven't really been challenged where our guys are playing 80 minutes. It really showed. We came out flat and Harding really took it to us."
Still, Lakeview recorded another win and kept its perfect record alive. For Young and the Bulldogs, though, they hope to go further than last season, when they went to the regional semifinals.
"We just want to keep winning our games so that we can get the number one seed in the (state) tournament," Young said. "Try and get farther than last year because we have the potential to go far."