Lakeview girls soccer’s struggles continue in CSAA play, fall to Fremont, 6-1

Lakeview freshman Molly Willison works past her Fremont defenseman during Wednesday’s CSAA matchup at Lakeview High. — DN Photo | Austin Chastain

LAKEVIEW — Courtney Grant spun a ball just outside the 18-yard box and threw it up. The ball spun right to left and landed in the top right corner of the net, causing a joyful cheer for the Lakeview girls soccer team.

The goal separated the game against Fremont 1-1 and 16:35 to play at the Wildcats’ football field in the first half on Wednesday. The Packers had opened the scoring just 94 seconds before Grant’s goal with a corner kick that found its way into the far post net. The momentum seemed balanced, especially with Grant’s goal.

However, the Packers capitalized on the Wildcats’ lack of aggression in the first half to win 6-1 in Wednesday’s Central State Activities Association matchup.

Fremont (6-6, 4-3) took the lead at 13:04 of the first half after a cross in front of the net from Lakeview (4-4-2, 1-4-1) to make it 2-1, Fremont. The Packers added two more goals in the last five minutes of the first half to go into the break with a commanding 4-1 lead.

Wildcats coach Chris Smith said he told his team to pick up the pace and be prepared for the aggression the Packers were playing with. Wednesday’s matchup was physical throughout, and Smith said he stressed to his team about finding a way to transcend physicality and move the ball.

They did just that – the Wildcats pushed back as hard as they could. Though Lakeview wasn’t able to find the back of the net, it certainly wasn’t from a lack of effort. In the second half alone, the Wildcats had four great chances to get back into the game. Most of the scoring opportunities came from Grant and Molly Willison, who deflected two breakaways from a Packers defenseman/keeper combination. Grant had a chance at 1:45 into the game when her first shot hit the post and rebounded off Grace Hansen to an open net chance, but a defender blocked the shot and dribbled harmlessly across the end line.

Lakeview senior Courtney Grant shrugs after celebrating her goal in Wednesday’s CSAA match against Fremont. Grant had the only goal for the Wildcats in the loss. — DN Photo | Austin Chastain

The Packers scored twice in the middle of the second half, one on another cross in front of the Lakeview net with 26:33 left and one on a breakaway with 10:27 left. Smith said the team played better in the second half and never backed down from the massive challenge ahead.

“We talked about being more aggressive and physical and not missing the game,” Smith said. “We had some good sustained attacks but in the end we couldn’t get the shots we wanted to get even more goals down the board.”

Coming out wasn’t a recurring theme for the Wildcats, however. The Wildcats exit a three-game week, including back-to-back shutout wins over non-conference enemies Carson City-Crystal and Belding, and a 2-2 draw with Grant on Monday.

Lakeview has four days off before its next game, a CSAA matchup against Big Rapids on Monday at 5 p.m. at home. Smith said he intends to use the break and positive change in weather to the Wildcats’ advantage.

“We’re going to do two practice sessions in a row, I think for the first time this season,” Smith said. “We’re going to get into that and put together some live scrimmage situations at practice and try to simulate some (of physicality) and correct the mistakes we made tonight. We have girls out here who have the talent to correct the mistakes and I think we could do that with a few practice sessions in a row and finally some nice weather.”

Smith said the Wildcats’ product shows promise on the field. The defensive unit, although young, gels well on the defensive line. Isabel Dillon was a steadfast midfielder who worked to control midfield and connect the team. At the top, Willison and Grant have been a dynamic duo for Lakeview this season – creating chances, picking up the pace and scoring goals.

Lakeview student Matison Newman flags her Fremont opponent during Wednesday’s CSAA game at the Wildcats football field. — DN Photo | Austin Chastain

“[Willison]had a nice game today,” Smith said. “She fought hard and was able to match the speed of those Fremont defenders. Courtney Grant is always a beast on the frontlines, pulling off shots and running through people when she has to. She’s doing this, she did it for basketball, and if volleyball was a contact sport, she would do it there too.”

With the combination of the duo up front, the continued improvement of the defensive line, and the aggressive attitude the Wildcats are aiming for for the remainder of the season, steady improvement could be in the works for Lakeview.

It’s just a matter of time and execution, Smith said.

“We’ve got a lot of football left and it’s going to be quick,” Smith said. “We’ve got seven games left before the districts… we’re going to do it.”

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