Monday, October 15, 2012
Behind Allison Pavlik, the Bulldogs’ girls soccer team rides high into tournament
By John Bassetti
If the city of Cortland is also the name of a variety of apple — like Gala, Empire, Delicious, Granny Smith, Idared and hundreds more — then shouldn’t the goals leader on the community’s high school girls soccer team be considered the leading s-core-r?
Lakeview High’s Allison Pavlik would be a natural to hold that distinction.
Not only has Pavlik helped the Bulldogs to a No. 3 seed in the upcoming Division II district tournament, but the junior has accumulated 90 goals and 12 assists over the last three years, including 34 goals this season alone.
Since 10th-year coach Shawn Varley has been in charge, a player, Nikki Bevilacqua, scored 86 career goals, but Pavlik has exceeded that and still has one more year left.
Lakeview (12-2-2) recently beat Champion, 2-0, to claim the AAC National tier championship with a 9-0-1 record. The teams played to a 0-0 tie earlier this season.
It was the Bulldogs’ third straight tier or division championship.
Lakeview now plays the Niles-Hubbard winner in the Division II sectional on Thursday.
Under Varley, Lakeview had its best year in 2009 when it the won the district championship before losing to Chagrin Falls in Ravenna in the regional.
The inclusion of previously Division I schools such as Canfield and Poland into Division II after a reclassification has made Lakeview’s route more difficult, but Varley considers it a change for the better.
“It’s a great thing that soccer went to three divisions, which means more teams in the state,” Varley said of the change — instituted last year — from a two-division system.
However, in 2011, Lakeview got by West Branch, then lost to Canfield, 3-0, in the sectional finals.
Pavlik and fellow forward Bethany Hayes are the targeted players to score goals.
“It’s their job,” Varley said of the pair. As a freshman, Hayes has five goals and one assist.
“Putting Bethany in there alongside the best is good experience,” Varley said. “Bethany is learning the ropes.”
Pavlik was first-team all-district as a sophomore.
Allison’s sister, Abby, has eight goals and nine assists as a center-midfielder.
“We have some good goal scorers on this year’s team,” Varley said of Abby, a sophomore. “She dishes out the ball, too,” he said of her primary role.
Like many top high school program, most of Lakeview’s roster comprises year-round players.
“They also play in the winter and spring with their clubs, getting a lot of exposure,” Varley, a teacher at Grand Valley, said of those who began in the Cortland community youth leagues.
Senior goalie Elaine Moldovan has 48 career shutouts and 270 career saves and is the only Lakeview player to have started varsity since her freshman year.
“She’s the only starter from that 2009 season that won the district championship,” Varley said of the goalie who was then tested by Chagrin Falls.
To complement Moldovan as a defensive anchor is senior sweeper Emily Yocum.
“She doesn’t have a lot of stats, except helping with shutouts,” Varley said of Yocum, who plays in front of the goalie as the last defender. “She usually holds the center of the defense,” Varley said of the player who may also move left or right to provide cover or who does a lot of clearing and passing out from the back.
Other key players are senior Casey Boldt, a backup goalie, who is now the starting stopper.
“She plays in front of the sweeper in our line of defense,” Varley said. “She also plays a role in transition.”
“She won that starting position this year, which is a big asset for the team,” Varley said of Boldt, who has had all three of her career goals this year, including one via corner kick in Lakeview’s lastest game against Champion.
“Those are her only goals of her high school career,” Varley said, “but, considering her position, that’s saying something.”
Lakeview’s losses have been out-of-conference to Poland, 1-0, and Fitch, 3-2. Of Thursday’s potential opponent, Lakeview tied Niles earlier this season, 1-1, but didn’t play Hubbard.
Varley, a former Lakeview player who graduated in 1999, got the girls’ coaching position at age 21.
The 31-year-old’s won-loss-tie record to date is 126-49-19.
Of the week layoff, Varley said: “Like a lot of teams, we’ve got injuries and sick players, so the break gives us time to heal and work on some things.”