Lakeview handles Champion, 4-1

CORTLAND – Josh Kelly and his Lakeview teammates had seen it happen before. Champion had scored early and rode away with a win in the Division II district tournament a year ago. This time, the Bulldogs’ rivals would leave with a loss despite the early goal after Josh Kelly fed teammates for three second-half tallies in a 4-1 victory at Don Richards Memorial Stadium to remain unbeaten on Saturday afternoon.

“We started a little slow,” Kelly said. “We just thought of what happened last year when they beat us in the playoffs and ended our season early. That inspired us to win.

“We didn’t make any changes. We just worked harder in the second half. It helped us.”

Noah Worley’s shot back across the face of the goal into the net put the Golden Flashes (10-2-1) out front, 1-0, just past the midpoint of the first half.

“Their high line (defensively) confused us at first,” Lakeview coach Bryan Phillips said. “Worley is a heck of a player. He cut in front of the goalie. He made a heck of a play.

“It was unfortunate being down, 1-0. It was deja vu. Our playoff game last year was a similar scenario. We were down 1-0. The kids just responded. Nobody put their heads down. Nobody pouted. They just grinded it out.”

Lakeview (13-0) got back even when Noah Busefink fed Danny Golar for a goal with 10:32 to play in the first half.

“Momentum was in our favor,” Champion coach Tyler LeMon said. “We need to learn a way to face adversity and continue to play hard.”

“I thought it was big getting out of the first half tied,” Phillips said. “I was a little panicked we wouldn’t get it until the second half. Now, we were able to tell the kids it was 0-0 and a fresh game. With a 40-minute game, tied 0-0, I like our chances.”

The Bulldogs netted a pair of goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Jarrett Collins got the first one with 36:15 remaining in the contest. Blake Gill followed with a header into the net with 33:48 to play.

“We knew they’d get frustrated after a while,” Kelly said. “They started yelling at each other. We knew we had to keep our heads up and keep playing hard.”

“I just think giving them the two quick goals changed the momentum,” LeMon said. “They did well winning 50-50 balls and playing with high intensity. They moved the ball around the field well. (Busefink) did a nice job spreading us out and maneuvering. They fought for 80 minutes.”

Golar added a second score with 12:17 left.

Kelly assisted on all three goals in the second half as the Bulldogs pulled away for the victory.

“From our perspective, they were playing a high line (on defense),” Kelly said. “It helped us a lot with our speed up top. We were able to play balls over the top and really get behind them.

“It’s just a lot of work on the practice field. I’ve gotten to know them. We play together in the offseason. I got to know where they’ll be at in their runs and I can hit them on the foot sometimes.”