Lakers blank Raiders 2-0 to notch girls’ soccer playoff spot

MAKING A STOP — Lake Region defender Grace Farrington makes a stop during last Saturday's night game against Fryeburg Academy. (Rivet Photo)

MAKING A STOP — Lake Region defender Grace Farrington makes a stop during last Saturday's night game against Fryeburg Academy. (Rivet Photo)

At this time of the year, teams on the playoff bubble earn their way into the tournament.
After slipping to the final playoff spot — from #7 to #10 in Class B West — with two regular season games left, Lake Region Coach Harvey Toews impressed upon his players that their game Saturday against rival Fryeburg Academy was a “must win.”
“It definitely had a playoff — win or go home — kind of feel,” said Coach Toews regarding Saturday night’s hard-fought 2-0 Laker win over the Raiders.
Sophomore Kristen Huntress scored the game winner on a penalty kick with 16:14 left in the second half. The victory avenges a 1-0 loss to the Raiders.
“We felt that we played very flat emotionally in that 1-0 loss at Fryeburg. The Raiders were focused and committed to playing a tight marking game. They kept grinding, came up with the goal, and held on for the victory,” Coach Toews said. “We had the benefit of getting the game taped and were able to view it as a team during the week. It was very helpful for the girls to see what we saw regarding their level of energy. Fortunately, they responded well and played with greater focus and intensity. It was nice to see the mental toughness they displayed, as it was needed to earn the victory.”
Neither team managed many prime scoring chances in the first half as both defensive fronts were stingy in allowing advances toward the netminders Isabel Scribner for the Lakers and Makayla Cooper for the Raiders. Scribner made a leaping deflection of a shot headed to the right top corner, while Cooper had one close encounter as she left the goal crease to scoop up an incoming roller.
Lake Region broke the deadlock when CeCe Hancock was taken down inside the box, earning the Lakers a penalty kick chance. Coach Toews selected Huntress to be the shooter.
“Successfully converting on PK opportunities takes a combination of skill and confidence. Kristen, even though she’s just a sophomore, has that combination, something she has developed over the years so that she now welcomes such opportunities,” the coach said. “She does have that ‘Gold Ball’ pedigree, which has been helpful in her ability to be mentally tough when needed.”
Huntress drilled the ball to the left side, which beat a lunging attempted stop by Cooper.
Laker freshman Lauren Jakobs iced the victory when she beat a Raider defender down the right side and then beat Cooper with 3:31 left.
“Jake’s (Lauren Jakobs) goal provided a level of comfort for the last few minutes,” Coach Toews said. “We have used her in a variety of positions this fall and this was her first start on the front line as a striker. She responded well with a great burst of energy on the break and buried the shot — pretty impressive for a freshman — another young player with a growing confidence level who will make significant contributions over the next three years.”

TRYING TO GAIN CONTROL of the ball along the sideline is Fryeburg's Ori Inirio, who is guarded by Lake Region's Danica Chadwick. (Rivet Photo)

TRYING TO GAIN CONTROL of the ball along the sideline is Fryeburg's Ori Inirio, who is guarded by Lake Region's Danica Chadwick. (Rivet Photo)

The victory, along with a 5-1 win over Old Orchard Beach in the season finale, improved the Lakers’ record to 7-6-1. The Raiders fell to 5-7-2, and will travel to Turner on Saturday for a 3 p.m. prelim tourney game against Leavitt (the teams did not play each other in the regular season). The Lakers will host a prelim tournament game this Saturday at Art Kilborn Athletic Complex at 3 p.m. against #10-ranked Gray-New Gloucester. The Lakers defeated the Patriots 4-3 in a spirited game in early September.
“The girls have worked real hard this year and the improvement from 2-9-3 last year to a playoff berth and a winning record, if we close the deal against Old Orchard on Tuesday, is a testament to their dedication and commitment to one another and to the team goals for success,” Coach Toews said.
He also attributed the team’s success to his assistant coaches — Jeff Juneau, Peter Webb and Shawn Rock.
“They have been a real pleasure and a major reason for our improved performance. I also want to thank the Lake Region Soccer Club, current coaches, board members and Director Robin Leavitt, for all of the work that has gone into player development,” he added. “Something that is very encouraging is that we are still a young team. There was a point against Fryeburg when we had seven underclassmen on the field who made significant contributions in a must-win situation.”

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