Bulldogs battle: Poland blanks Lakeview 5-0 during heavy rain
POLAND — Showery, chilly, and windy.
It was perfect soccer weather Wednesday night, especially if you were a Poland Bulldog.
Starting off like a storm, Poland (6-1-1) wasted no time finding the scoreboard at Dave Pavlansky Field in route to a 5-0 victory over Northeast-8 rival Lakeview.
Even more importantly, it gave a Poland team that’s battled through injuries all Fall the opportunity to play as a unit, especially with their last contest versus Struthers only consisting of one half due to inclement weather.
“Sometimes it’s hard, it’s the girls and how they come to play,” Poland coach Neil Huda said. “If they come to play, or if they’re lackadaisical, but once they get going, we’ll pick up the tempo and they get it done.
“I thought they did well today, especially passing the ball. I told them that it’s up to them, how far they want to go, and how intense they play, or how fast they want to play the game.”
After missing several contests to begin her senior campaign, Mia Marantis found the back of the net from 15-plus yards out within the first six minutes of the contest. It was her first of two goals in the game.
“I thought we all played good as a team, even with the weather and stuff,” Marantis said. “At the end it got a little messy, but I thought as a team, we all played well. The fact that we’re all good friends on and off the field, we’ve just been playing together since we were young, and we’ve been going to the same school together.
“I feel like it builds the chemistry on the field.”
Freshman Lucy Harrel scored soon thereafter, followed by a ricochet goal off the leg of senior Syda Masucci. Senior Avery Grischow launched a bomb from 30-plus yards out in the open field. Marantis rounded out the scoring in the first half, leaving it 5-0 going into halftime.
Missing time herself this fall, Grischow emphasized the importance of scoring early, but felt that the second half effort left a bit to be desired.
“First off, it’ll put the other team’s heads down, definitely gets in their head, and it’s easier for us to play and keep the momentum,” Grischow said. “I was really surprised at how well the chemistry was up top, I thought we played really good up top.
“I think that Lakeview did bring up their intensity (in the second half). I think that we started to give up once we knew the score was so high, I don’t think we played as good as we could have.”
Lakeview (2-6-1) didn’t allow an early deficit to phase their play going onto the pitch for the second half, keeping Poland out of the net, and bettering their 8-0 loss versus Poland earlier in the season.
It boils down to showing improvement from one contest to another, win or loss, especially for a team that has seniors Amber Givens-Morrow, Kylie Matteoti, Gracey Stockton, and ShayLynn Wall, but eight underclassmen as well, with six juniors.
“Their (Poland) shots from distance, they’re impeccable so kudos to them on all accounts,” Lakeview coach Marissa DeFrancesco said. “We’re just trying to get better each time, it’s a rebuilding year for our program, but we’re chipping away at it.
“All we talked about at halftime was making sure we step to everything, trying to keep it as clean as possible, body behind the ball instead of a leg because everything is slipping and sliding, and they followed through with that, so I’m very pleased with our second half performance.”