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An up-and-down first half left Lakewood in a precarious situation during their playoff game against Warren on Thursday. The Lancers were initially in total control, taking a 7-1 lead after the first quarter. However, the visiting Bears rattled off four straight goals in the second to cut the Lancer lead to just 7-5 at the half.
Lakewood regrouped and refocused at intermission, and pulled away in the second half to secure a 12-8 victory, punching their ticket to the CIF-SS Division 5 quarterfinals for the second year in a row.
“That’s just the rollercoaster of the game and the CIF playoffs, sometimes stuff happens,” first-year Lakewood head coach Dylan Thompson said of the first half. “That is the nice thing about this team, all season long they’ve shown that when it does get a little bit messy, and things don’t go their way, they’re really mentally tough and they stay with it. I was telling them at halftime, ‘I have full faith. Every time it gets like this, we win the game, and we’re gonna do it again.’”
The Lancers got nearly all their goals from the dynamic duo of senior Brooke Baze (5 goals) and freshman Kyley Seeds (6 goals). Both players scored a hat trick in the first quarter alone, and they were able to complement one another beautifully. Baze was able to stretch the Warren defense by firing in shots from distance while Seeds did her work in front of the cage.
The freshman scored three goals in a crucial third quarter–which Lakewood won 5-1 to effectively put the game away.
“The first CIF game was pretty stressful, I was pretty nervous,” Seeds admitted after Thursday’s win. “But the more we play together, the more confident I get … I’m really excited, I think we can go really far. It’s been hard with different coaches coming in and out, but we’re solid right now. And just like we keep on saying, ‘On to the next play.’”
Meilani Kerr was the other goal scorer for Lakewood, while goalie Marley Isaacson racked up 7 saves and had 3 steals. Baze and Seeds also chipped in three steals each as Lakewood did a nice job frustrating Warren’s offense for long stretches of the game.
Warren’s leading scorer was Sammie Lebrado who scored twice for the Bears in the second quarter. Goalie Rachel Ramirez collected 9 saves for the visitors.
Lakewood will remain the home team for Saturday’s quarterfinals, though time and location of the game are still being finalized. The Lancers will be hosting 24-2 Hemet High with a trip to the semifinals on the line.