Lakeview shuts out Red Dragons
NILES — A full moon loomed in the night sky over Bo Rein Stadium in Niles on Wednesday as Lakeview visited the Red Dragons. After a scoreless battle for the majority of the contest, the Bulldogs walked away with a 2-0 victory.
“God bless Lakeview. They’re a great team,” Niles coach Scott MacMillan said. “They wanted it. They played smarter than us. Their seniors showed up tonight. I know they wanted to win this game badly because it was their last trip to Niles. Good luck to them in the tournament.”
Lakeview senior Callia Paolucci rode the ball out of bounds giving Niles a corner kick. Senior Katie Gallo knocked it in the center of the field, in front of the net to fellow senior Hailey Esposito. Her shot was denied by Bulldog goalie Caitlin Kahurick, but Gallo got a second chance from the other side of the field.
The Red Dragons failed to capitalize and Lakeview pushed the ball. Bulldog senior captain Hanna Mathews was hustling all over the place. Lakeview senior Melanie Wolff showed off her big boot several times.
Wolff almost blasted one in from long range, but a nice save by Niles goalie Alexis Macciocca left the game tied, 0-0, at halftime. A vocal MacMillan was pumping up the Dragons (5-6-1) from the sideline as the second half began. Niles nearly got an early goal but the ball went over the top of the net. Hannah Johnston, Tierni McGuire, and Avallina Aurilio played solid defense for the Red Dragons. They helped the game remain scoreless until there were 13 minutes left in regulation.
The picturesque, moonlit evening turned into a soggy, rain soaked affair. Just as the rain began to fall, Lakeview senior captain Allie Augustine put the Bulldogs up 1-0. Macciocca came out of the box and made a save, but the ball found its way back to Augustine who delivered.
“When it rains, it pours I guess,” Lakeview coach Marissa DeFrancesco chuckled. “It was a hard-fought game. It’s always competitive when we play Niles. They have a great coaching staff, so we know they’re always going to bring their A-game. We definitely out-possessed. We played our game. It took us a while to get there.
“Making that last touch, and having it be the right one, is so critical. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it until the second half. I’m proud of all of my girls. They’ve really been having a great season.”
Lakeview improved its record to 10-1 on the year with the win. Augustine added an insurance goal, off of a break away, as she put the right touch on the ball with just over a minute left in the game.
Kahurick, who is one of nine seniors on the roster, finished the game with six saves as the captain navigated a shutout, in the net, for the Bulldogs.
“It felt good keeping them off the board,” Kahurick said. “Knowing we went into halftime with a 0-0 tie, and with only 40 minutes left, definitely made it a nail biter. Allie Augustine does an amazing job every time. She put two in the back of the net to help secure the win.”