CORTLAND - On Sept. 8, Niles played Lakeview to a 1-1 tie. On Thursday night at Don Richards Stadium, the Bulldogs made that game seem like a distant memory, as they won a decisive 4-0 victory in a Division II girls soccer sectional final.
Junior Allison Pavlik paced the Lakeview attack with a hat trick and an assist. Pavlik now has a career-high 37 goals this season after scoring 35 last season and 21 as a freshman.
"I couldn't have done it without all my teammates," she said. "There's 11 people on the field and you can't score by yourself. I'm just happy we did. It was a great feeling and we deserve it."
"This has been an excellent year for her," Lakeview coach Shawn Varley said. "She got first team all-district at the meeting this past week. She had one heck of a game. That's what she's supposed to do - put the ball in the back of the net."
Senior Sierra Leveto got the Bulldogs off to a 1-0 lead with 25:43 remaining in the first half as she beat Niles goalkeeper Paige Freele in front of the net. Pavlik added her first goal of the game at 11:35 as she put in a shot off a throw in by Megan Paskey.
With a two-goal cushion at halftime, Lakeview extended its lead at 11:49 of the second half as Pavlik hit on a turnaround shot. She added her third goal of the game at 7:14 as she headed in a ball that her sister Abby kicked in on a corner.
Niles (10-6-2) falls in a sectional final for the fourth time in five seasons. Red Dragons coach Jennifer Burin said her team let down from the earlier meeting they had this season against the Bulldogs.
"We showed up last game. We didn't show up this game," she said. "We didn't play our game this game."
Lakeview (13-2-2) advances to at least a district semifinal for the sixth consecutive season. The Bulldogs will visit Poland on Monday at 7 p.m. Poland beat Lakeview 1-0 in the season opener on Aug. 20.
"Poland is a very good team. They pass very well together," Pavlik said. "They're going to be tough competition for us. We just need to come out, play our game, make that easy pass and have confidence we can do it. I know we can if we put our heads to it. We need everybody in it."
Varley added that the Bulldogs can take some of the things they did against Niles and use them against Poland.
"We worked on the things that we needed to work on in this game," he said. "That's going to help us hopefully win against Poland. I think some of the same principles that we were using this game will transfer over into that game. A little bit more possession, and I think that's going to help us."