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Poland wins 6th straight

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Poland’s Lauren Coss (12) passes the ball as Lakeview’s Leah Clark closes in during Poland’s 4-3 victory in Cortland.

CORTLAND — Always a heavyweight tilt in the Northeast-8 soccer world, Poland and Lakeview continued to deliver.

Each team threw their haymakers, but it was the Mahoning County Bulldogs who edged out their blue and white rivals, taking down Lakeview 4-3.

“It was a good, good game,” Poland coach Neil Huda said. “A good battle back and forth, and I expected that. It was a good game. It’s good to have a challenging game.”

Poland (6-4-0) has been battling injuries all season and things is just starting to look up.

Junior Sophia Generalovich has started to emerge this season, and shined Monday, scoring a hat trick for Poland.

“She’s done really well,” Huda said. “We’re trying to get our team back now, which is helping. Mary (Brant) got to go in for about 10 minutes. We’re starting to get our pieces back, so it’s starting to help a little.”

Poland battled those injuries through a gauntlet opening schedule. The Bulldogs started 0-4, but have now won six straight.

“We haven’t had the whole team yet this whole season, even tonight,” Huda said. “We’re missing one or two starters, but it is what it is. Next person up. No excuses.”

“My girls played 100 percent, I’m not disappointed at all in the way they played,” Lakeview coach Annamarie Paolucci said. “Next time we see Poland, we know what to expect. We’ll adjust accordingly. Poland had a great game as well. Very excited about this game and went back and forth the whole time. I believe we were evenly matched. I’m happy with the outcome, even though we did lose, my girls have put in the work and shows that they care about this game.”

This is Paolucci’s first year at the helm of the program, and the 2019 Lakeview grad is encouraged by what’s transpired so far.

“It’s definitely a whirlwind of emotions, but I’m very happy,” she said. “Very grateful that I got this position, especially as an alum here. I’m just happy to be with my girls.”

Despite battling low numbers in the program, the Bulldogs have fought to a 3-3-1 record thus far. There’s still room to grow and they’re looking forward to making it happen.

Poland has made solid postseason runs a routine, and the aspirations are no different this year.

“We had a little taste of the regional final last year, we felt a little bit short, and I know we played Manchester this year, but we’d like to get another shot,” Huda said. “That’s the goal, state and the league.”

But along with getting healthy, there’s still plenty to do to improve.

“We’ve got to get better at defending, and we’ve got to get better at moving the ball a little bit,” Huda said. “I think if we clean that up and hit some of the shots we were missing, we’ll be okay.”

Their tough schedule doesn’t get much easier as they take on a state-ranked Howland team on Wednesday.

Lakeview hosts Struthers on Wednesday.

The teams will meet up again to close out the regular season on Oct. 11 in Poland.

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