Both Lakeview and Harper Creek picked a good time to put a big number on the scoreboard as both soccer teams dominated on the pitch to open the postseason.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association girls soccer districts began for most area teams on Wednesday and two of the top teams in the city will see their season extended with wins in first-round action.
Lakeview earned a mercy-rule victory over city rival Battle Creek Central, 9-0, in a Division 1 district contest at Lakeview.
On the other side of town, Harper Creek also jumped out big early and rolled to an 8-0 win over Sturgis in a Division 2 district contest at Harper Creek.
Getting wins early in the postseason can be a boost to a program, according to Lakeview coach Heather Albee, who saw her team shut out the Bearcats twice in a matter of a few weeks.
“We were just trying to get some goals in back of the net and build some confidence for our next match,” Albee said. “It was so important to start this game fast. You don’t want to take any team for granted, so we wanted to start fast and play fast early.”
Lakeview captain Sydney Ross helped the Spartans start fast with two goals in the first five minutes of the contest, that were sandwiched around a tally by Lakeview’s Sophia Thawnghmung for a 3-0 lead at the 35:06 mark.
“I think today, we knew what we had to do and we did it really well,” Ross said. “I think today, we showed we are just getting better every day. We are excited about how we played today and that we are moving on.”
Ross had three goals overall in the contest with Thawnghmung getting two. Rylee Wiggins, Emerson Manning, Leah Olivarri and Alanna Hacker all added goals as well as Lakeview improved to 10-5-3.
The Spartans advance to face Portage Central (12-2-3) in the second round at Kalamazoo Central at 5 p.m. Tuesday after the Mustangs had a bye.
Harper Creek advances to face Vicksburg (12-8) in a Division 2 district semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Coldwater.
The Beavers, 14-3-1 on the season, defeated Vicksburg early in the year, 5-1.
In the win over Sturgis, Shelby Cushman had a hat trick to lead the Beavers. Sophomore Alyssa Smith had two goals for Harper Creek with Lia Luchetti, Mallory Flanders and Rachel Meyer all adding a goal.
Lakeview saw its season come to an end, losing to Grand Rapids Catholic in the second round of Division 2 regionals.
GR Catholic Central defeated Lakeview, 17-3, at Lansing Catholic Central to advance to the regional finals. The Spartans fall to 12-8.
This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: Lakeview, Harper win big in first round of girls soccer districts