Three goals within five minutes lifted Holy Innocents’ over Lakeview Academy, 4-1, last night at Jock Hornor field, concluding the Lady Lions’ first appearance in the A-Private quarterfinals.
“The girls never gave up, they fought down to the last second,” coach Nathan Wallace said. “I’m really proud of them for that. We’re going to grow from this — we have to. These girls can now see what it takes, and what they need to do (to advance). They’re going to learn from this.
“We played a great game I think, all the same.”
With only one senior starting on the team and a roster stacked with 12 freshmen, Wallace is right: playoff experience is priceless and will only benefit the team in the coming seasons.
After all, the freshmen planted the Lady Lions’ sole goal in the 80 minute matchup. Twelve minutes into the match, freshman Millie Filson passed a smooth ball to freshman Sara Nivens, who scored the ball past a diving defender into the left corner of the net.
The Golden Bears responded 14 minutes later with a scorcher just out of the reach of goaltender Celia Wilson-Patino.
The first half was heavily contested on defense, while the second half featured an aggressive offensive push by the Golden Bears. Their drive began five seconds before the conclusion of the first half when two straight corner kicks led to the Golden Bears’ second goal of the game.
“That was a dagger to us,” Wallace said. “It was unfortunate, it was unlucky, it was nobody’s fault. It just happens, so it kind of put us down.”
Holy Innocents’ would score its next two (and final) goals within the first four minutes of the second half.
Two corner kicks and one impressive drive by Filson before being called offsides with 11 minutes remaining offered Lakeview a few chances to deliver, but the push wasn’t enough.
“Next year, can we make the final four or maybe get to the finals — I don’t know,” Wallace said. “But we’re going to keep pushing for it.”
Wallace said in the future he will look back on this team and remember their camaraderie and chemistry.
“That’s why I think we did so well was because we trusted them, they worked together and they built off each other,” Wallace said. “That’s the nice thing about being here is that they’re such a close knit group.
“I think they’re just going to keep building on it.”