Lakeview works together to beat Hubbard

CORTLAND – Lakeview girls soccer coach Shawn Varley knows what his team is capable of, if only the Bulldogs pool their collective talents.

Facing a stiff defensive challenge in an All-American Conference battle against Hubbard, Varley used the talents of his individuals and found the right combination, even though it meant changing the positions of most of his offensive players to topple the Eagles, 5-0, on Wednesday night at Don Richards Memorial Stadium.

Pulling the strings on positioning was the easy part for Varley. Having the players understand the moves and perform to their capabilities could have been much more difficult. The Bulldogs (7-3), however, thrived.

“I think what finally started happening is they started to realize that if they want to go anywhere, they have to play together,” Varley said. “I think we have a lot of talent, a lot of weapons. It’s just a matter of dispersing the ball to a variety of players.”

The Eagles tried to play as defensive a game as they could, knowing Lakeview’s firepower and being undermanned because of injuries. The move paid off for more than 35 minutes.

“The plan coming in was to try and play a defensive game because we knew we weren’t going to be able to match up,” Hubbard coach Scott MacMillan said. “We try to pull them in then counter over the top, but we lost so many players to injuries, we had to move everybody back. We didn’t have a bench and we were wearing ourselves out.

“Lakeview is a good team. When you chase a good team, you’ll wear yourself out. The PK didn’t help, but by that time, we were whooped.”

Three different players – Sam Yanci (three times), Haylee Mathews and Rachel Braunegg – found the back of the net against the Eagles (5-3-3).

“That’s the thing,” Varley said. “We have so many weapons. The last time we played, Hubbard played a flat back three. We were able to get through balls. This time, they put a sweeper in and we had to adjust and play into space.

“Some of the girls were man-marked and some were even double-teamed. I started moving positions.”

“We had a rough start to the season,” Yanci said. “After a few games, we came together and began playing as a team. Tonight shows what we can do when we work together.”

Yanci tallied her first goal after battling through a trio of Hubbard defenders and somehow getting a shot off with two of them draped across her with 3:53 left in the first half.

“The physicality is always very tough against Hubbard,” Yanci said. “I busted through to score. It’s such an amazing feeling. It makes you work even harder to get to that point.”

Mathews banged one over the Hubbard goalkeeper from about 35 yards out just 27 seconds later to take the Bulldogs into the intermission up 2-0.

Yanci netted her second goal with 37:16 left in the match off Reagan Rosenberger’s feed. Rosenberger contributed to the Bulldogs’ next goal as she was fouled in the box. Rachel Braunegg knocked the penalty kick into the upper back right corner for a 4-0 lead with 35:47 left.

“They used their speed,” MacMillan said. “They hit the seams. Our central defender was out and the girl we had there did an admirable job, but there was nothing she could do. They moved the ball well and their through balls were good.”

Following Mathews’ lead, Yanci scored the final goal after sending the ball on an arc over the keeper from about 30 yards out with 12:33 remaining.

“It’s a great feeling to put three goals up for the team,” Yanci said. “Beating Hubbard, 5-0, is huge for us. Going into Howland on Saturday boosts my energy even more. It was just about being aware of everything. I saw (the goalkeeper) was off the line and chipped her. On the others, I looked up and took open shots.”

The Eagles’ only real chance to score came off the foot of Marissa Grande, who tried to send a shot from the corner over Lakeview keeper Miranda Meffe late in the second half. Meffe tracked the ball and punched it up over her head and off the crossbar for the save.

“We just got done playing Mentor Lake Catholic,” Varley said. “It was a tough game. It was an eye-opening experience in that they learned they’ve got to step to the ball (on defense). Hope Churley led the defense and Miranda Meffe made one heck of a great save.

“We shut down Marissa. She’s a very talented player and we knew that coming in. We didn’t want to give her a lot of time or space. Emily Metheny did the job marking her.”