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The Journal Gazette

Monday, September 11, 2017 9:10 pm

DeKalb 3, Huntington North 2

DeKalb girls soccer tops Huntington North

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

HUNTINGTON – An early goal and a solid defensive effort secured a 3-2 victory for the Class 2A No. 6 DeKalb girls soccer team at 3A No. 17 Huntington North on Monday.

The Barons (8-1-1, 4-0 Northeast Eight) scored in the seventh minute when Bethany Kelley scored off Faith Lewis' shot that ricocheted off the post.

DeKalb's defense stood firm the remainder of the first half despite additional pressure by Huntington North.

"I thought we were ready at game-time," DeKalb coach Logan Cochran said. "I thought it was great for us to be able to come in and start fast, we got an early goal and after that, it was a little bit Huntington North here and there but I thought we kept enough pressure on them."

Barons goalkeeper Erica Bolinger survived an onslaught by the Vikings (9-1, 4-1) totaling 23 saves including a solid one-on-one save against Huntington North midfielder Hannah Tillett.

"I think it shows a lot of mental toughness throughout the team," Bolinger said. "We've had a lot of struggles and difficulties and I think this showed that we're able to push through them and work hard."

The early goal allowed the Barons to settle in and relax.

It was not a good situation for the Vikings (9-1, 4-1).

"We allowed them to score and once we allowed them to score, it dictated play," Huntington North coach Jeremy Steele said. "It gave them the opportunity to close back down and behind and pack some things back in and close off passing lanes and close off spaces that are otherwise there when we have to play a regular game."

Lewis gave the Barons a little extra cushion by scoring not long after halftime, assisted by Grace Snyder, to go up 2-0.

The Vikings finally broke through in the 45th minute when Tillett fed a free-kick on the ground to Karmen Koch who found the back of the net and make it 2-1.

DeKalb's Rebekah Forti received the ball from Lewis, found some shooting space outside the 18-yard box and made it 3-1 in the 76th minute.

"It's a really big confidence boost. This was one of our toughest games," Lewis said. "It feels great. I couldn't have done it without my team, we all worked hard, put in a lot of effort."

The Vikings' Amaya Sunderman scored in the 79th minute to make it 3-2.

"We moved some players up, attempted to throw some players forward and do what we could there to make it as close as possible," Steele said. "We did a little bit of that but not enough. Credit to DeKalb, they took care of responsibilities and they won the game, fair and square."

While this separates DeKalb in the race for the conference title, nothing is guaranteed.

"The way our schedule rolls, we still have Leo, Bellmont and Norwell so we still have three conference games left," Cochran said. "We can't look past those really good teams. It's great to come in and get a win against a very, very good team. They were undefeated coming into today's game, they've been scoring a lot of goals, (69) or something like that. It's great to be able to slow their scoring down, shut them down a little bit."

areichel@jg.net