Bulldogs on verge of AAC boys soccer championship
By john Bassetti
Lakeview High’s Louie Novakovich used to play football, but he joined the soccer squad this season.
Now, as a senior, the former wide receiver/defensive back is still looking to reach the goalline, albeit with a net around it.
Using his foot — and head in some cases — Novakovich scored two goals to bring his season total to 21 in the Bulldogs’ 7-0 win over Liberty in an All-American Conference National Division game Thursday.
Novakovich entered the game ranked eight in the state in goals and the former two-year football letterman extended his scoring streak to 12 games.
Another senior, Zack Wolff, had a pair of goals, while A.J. Miller, Jake Young and Ahmed Al-Akash had one apiece for the Bulldogs (10-0-2, 8-0 AAC).
Lakeview has two more league games left, including Saturday’s game against LaBrae.
With a starting lineup composed of players determined by the outcome of an intrasquad victory in practice on Wednesday, Lakeview had a different look.
“We did some different things tonight,” coach Nate Mailach said of trying to switch up the lineup to get more intensity.
“I wanted to get some other guys some action that normally haven’t [seen much action]. We dressed 24 guys, which is the most all season,” Mailach said. “I was getting some younger guys experience but Liberty came out and played hard. They played a physical game and we didn’t really respond too well in the first half. We let some of the calls get in our heads and some of our guys really didn’t play that well. We didn’t play that hard; we stood around and watched instead of actually going and attacking the ball.”
However, it didn’t take Lakeview long to get on the board as Wolff connected to the right side of Liberty goalie Justin House at 34:50.
With an assist from Novakovich, who didn’t enter the game until the 28-minute mark, Miller’s goal came at 26:50 for a 2-0 lead.
Lakeview made it 3-0 at 12:04 when Wolff scored his second goal after he received a rolling ball that first bounced high following a long punt by Lakeview goalie Alex Rosowicz.
Novakovich got his first goal at 28:01 of the second half on a penalty kick after Matt Black was tripped in the penalty area.
Standing 12 yards away, Novakovich drilled a powerful kick into the net, away from House’s right-side reach.
At 20:40, House made a point-blank stop of Black’s goal attempt, and, minutes later, sub Gavin Nicol, a freshman, initially helped clear the area in front of House during a sequence of close-call balls by Lakeview.
Young put in his goal at 15:29 against House’s replacement and Al-Akash scored on a penalty kick at 4:48.