Big goal boosts Deer Lakes in section title quest

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019 | 7:12 PM


Overtime loomed for the Deer Lakes and Freeport girls soccer teams Monday as their key Section 2-AA matchup wound down to the final minute of regulation tied 1-1.

But Lancers junior midfielder Abigail Boulos was given the opportunity to make a difference in the game’s outcome, and she delivered.

Her free kick from 25 yards out found the back of the net, and Deer Lakes found one of its biggest victories of the season to date.

“At first, I thought I piked the ball over the net,” Boulos said. “Then I saw it start to dip, and I knew it was going in. The way the game was going, we thought we might be going to overtime. I just wanted to get the ball on net and hope for the best.”

The 2-1 victory, sophomore forward Madeline Boulos said, was big for the quest to stay in the hunt for a second consecutive section title.

“It definitely was another boost to our confidence that we needed,” said Madeline Boulos, who scored her team’s other goal against Freeport and has 15 on the season.

Deer Lakes is 4-0-1 overall and 3-0 in section since its lone loss of the season, 5-1 at section rival and undefeated Burrell (9-0, 6-0) on Sept. 9.

“We weren’t on our ‘A’ game that night, and Burrell, obviously, is a big competitor in our section,” Madeline Boulos said. “They came out strong and got us. But we used that game as motivation to come back and put some wins together, and we’re feeling a lot better about where we stand.”

Deer Lakes came back two days after the Burrell loss and tied Class AAAA North Hills 1-1 in a game halted midway through the second half when the weather took a turn.

Wins against Highlands (4-0) and Apollo-Ridge (6-2) got the Lancers back on track in the section, and a 3-0 nonsection triumph at Avonworth on Saturday, junior forward Lily Litrun said, fueled the team’s mission heading into Freeport.

“Anything is possible with this team when we are focused, on the same page, communicating well and playing our best,” Litrun said.

Deer Lakes (7-1-1, 5-1) hopes to keep up its winning ways at home Wednesday against section foe Valley and Saturday in a home nonsection contest against Seton La Salle.

A road section match against East Allegheny on Monday is the prelude to the rematch against Burrell on Oct. 2.

“Burrell’s a tough team, period,” Deer Lakes coach Frank Accetta said. “The fortunate thing this time is we get to play them on our home field, which is not grass. Anytime you play teams like Freeport or Burrell, you need to have your big players play big, and (Monday) night, when we needed to have them step up, they did.”

Accetta said he likes the way his youthful defense is coming along, and the Freeport win, he said, was another example of that progression.

“I know we can put the ball in the net, but defensively is always where we need to have a little bit of work,” he said. “Having them limit a team of Freeport’s caliber who has a goal scorer like (Sidney) Shemanski, that goes a long way.”

Senior goalkeeper Gabby Webber, who has shared time in net this season with junior Jaiden Cutright, made 10 saves to help her team post the victory.

Staying healthy is a big factor in the success of any team with aspirations to claim section gold and reach the playoffs, and Accetta is hoping to have his team back to full strength soon.

That includes a big part of the midfield in junior captain Nina Lafko, who has missed several games with a right knee injury. Lafko had an MRI on Friday, and she expected to get the results Wednesday morning.

“Hopefully, all goes well,” she said Tuesday afternoon. “I’ve been staying optimistic.”

Accetta said Lafko does a little bit of everything for her team.

“She controls the midfield. She scores on corner kicks. She’s probably the best pure passer we have,” Accetta said. “A lot changes in the midfield when she’s not in there. We’ve tried to do whatever we can to make up for that loss. Hopefully, we can get her back.”

Accetta said that regardless of the team structure the rest of the way, the objective is still the same.

“A section championship is still out there,” he said. “We’re one game back with a lot still to be decided. We’ve got to be ready.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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