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Lakewood gets a lift from freshman Stott
Moving up to varsity for the district playoffs did not faze freshman forward Alisha Stott one bit. She came on as a substitute during the Oct. 31 game against the South Whidbey Lions and proceeded to score the game winning goal for the Cougars. Lakewood went on to win a hard-fought game 2-0, after a late penalty kick from Amanda Nunley.
It was a big day for Lakewood, marking the first time in school history the Cougars had won a district game. But the excitement was tempered by losing forward Hayley Bustad to an ugly injury late in the game. Bustad will miss the teams remaining games this season, a stiff blow to the Cougars chances.
Lakewood also played without star defender Jeneca Hoidal, still nursing an ACL strain, and midfielder Lakin Porter, who was on crutches. Despite having key players out due to injury, the team rallied to outplay a stingy Whidbey team.
Neither team could break through in the first half, but Lakewood got the better of the chances. Bustad fired a bullet from 30 yards out in the 19th minute that nearly broke the deadlock.
In the 23rd minute, a risky decision from goalkeeper Emily Steinborn nearly proved costly to the Cougars. Steinborn charged well off her line on a cross 15 yards in front of the Cougars goal. She leaped over one defender and one attacking player to punch the ball clear, but a Lion midfielder came upon the loose ball and barely missed a looping shot on an empty net.
Lakewood escaped unscathed and minutes later Stott made her first impression on the varsity drilling a shot from 20 yards out on the right wing. The ball looked to be headed in around the near post but sailed just wide of the net. Minutes later Stott used a throw-in to spring Anna Work up the right sideline on a rush toward the Whidbey goal. Work sprinted flat out toward the end line as the ball ran just ahead of her. At the last moment, Work backheeled a pass to Bustad who was brought down in the penalty area. However, no call from the official was forthcoming and the Lions cleared the ball.
At halftime both teams had to settle for a 0-0 tie. Lakewood needed to clean up their passing in the midfield a bit and South Whidbey would have to form some semblance of a consistent attack if they were to win.
The second 40 minutes turned out to be all Cougars, as right from the whistle they were attacking. Melissa Osburn got a through ball played halfway between her and the Whidbey goalkeeper in the 44th minute. Osburn rushed forward to challenge for the ball but a sliding goalie beat her to the ball by inches.
In the 46th minute a lead pass from Alicia Silva split forwards Bustad and Work as they headed toward goal. A slight miscommunication between Bustad and Work cost Lakewood a sure goal as both girls thought the other would take the ball and score. The ball trickled through the middle and wound up reaching the Whidbey goalkeeper.
In the 54th minute Lakewood broke through for good. Osburn touched a perfect pass to a racing Stott on the right side of the field. Stott fired low and hard on net, a shot that went through the arms of the distraught Whidbey goalie. The goal energized Lakewood and panicked Whibdey, who had produced very few offensive chances to that point.
It proved to be all the scoring Lakewood would need, though they tacked on a goal in the final minute after Bustad was fouled from behind in the penalty area. The foul proved to be more costly to Lakewood than South Whidbey as it cost Bustad her season.
Amanda Nunley placed the penalty shot low and to the left of the goalkeeper to bump the final margin to 2-0, but it will be a tall task for Lakewood to make State after losing their leading scorer.
Well Im excited for our first district win, said Coach Jeremiah Wohlgemuth afterwards, but we lost the player who tied a school record for goals in a season with 14 this year. It will be tough to replace that against Sehome.
The woman-of-the-match, Alisha Stott, will be counted on to fill an even bigger role up front for the Cougars in their next match. The freshman Stott did not seem intimidated during her first stint on varsity.
I just wanted to come up here and show what I can do, said Stott. Were going to play our game, control the ball and pass, and I think well be just fine.
The Cougars need one more victory to reach the state tournament.