CORTLAND - With her team up 1-0 in the 73rd minute and controlling the match, Lakeview's Casey Boldt set up near the far post for the corner kick.
The senior defender saw Abby Pavlik's corner go to her, and she rose up and slammed the ball into the back of the net from inside the 6-yard box. It would be the last home goal of her Bulldog career.
"It was nerve-racking at first," Boldt said. "I feel really good about it. I started crying, and it was emotional to say the least."
On senior night, Boldt's goal put away the game for good and gave the Bulldogs the 2-0 final against Champion Wednesday night.
Not only was the win big in terms of the seniors' last match, but it also clinched the All-American Conference, National Division title for the Bulldogs (12-2-2).
"Every year, you shoot for certain things, and winning a conference is always in there," Lakeview coach Shawn Varley said. "So, we accomplished it. It's a good way to finish off the regular season."
Lakeview's midfield suffocated Champion's (10-4-2, 7-1-2) offense, not allowing the Golden Flashes to use their counterattacking style.
Varley said the Bulldogs wanted to make Champion more predictable offensively by not allowing the through pass to the forwards, and the plan worked almost to perfection. Overall, Champion held very little possession, with the Bulldogs hounding the Golden Flashes to give away possession quickly.
Because of this, the Golden Flashes had very few goal-scoring opportunities and no shots on goal.
"We could not handle their midfield," Champion coach Dan Houle said. "They were way too fast for us, and that's the way it went."
An important cog of the Lakeview midfield was not a senior but sophomore Pavlik.
The central holding midfielder orchestrated many Bulldog attacks with long through balls to her forwards, which turned into goal-scoring opportunities. Along with the assist on Boldt's goal, she added another assist on Lakeview's first goal in the 10th minute, when she sent a low cross from the corner to senior Megan Paskey, who only had to tap it in from close range.
In addition to her offensive prowess, Pavlik made a defensive impact, stopping multiple Champion attacks before they could get started.
"To put it in the context of football, (Pavlik's) almost like our quarterback," Varley said. "She holds the center, she distributes (the ball) very well and she comes back on defense. Very key player- and she's only a sophomore."
For both teams, the match marked the end of the regular season, with the tournaments starting next week.
Houle said that missing a few players against Lakeview due to injury, the Golden Flashes need the week to get healthy.
"I have a bunch of girls that need to heal up," he said. "Hopefully, by (next week), those girls will be back. We should be okay for two games, and then it will get pretty tough."
As for Lakeview, riding high with a conference championship has the Bulldogs sights set on a long postseason run.
"(People) should expect a lot," Boldt said. "I'm pretty sure we're going to go far this year."