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Kickers fight an uphill battle, fall to Athens



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An Athens Red Hawk shoots a pass past juniors Kassie Thelen and Jessica Pfister. This was seen far to often thanks to the Red Hawk offense.by G. Ouzounian (click for larger version)
May 04, 2011 - The Lake Orion High School Girls' Varsity Soccer team held strong for the majority of their game against Athens on April 28.

Yet, as fatigue and frustration became problems near the tail end of the game, the hearty Dragon defense fell to the relentless offense of Athen's Red Hawks. Lake Orion lost, 4-0.

From the start of the game, Athen continuously poured on the heat. The ball seemed to always be in Lake Orion's zone, yet the Dragons were able to hold on through the first half of the game - a testament to Lake Orion's tenacity.

Several close shots were denied by Lake Orion's goalie Haley Barnes, who kept the game at a scoreless tie through the first half despite the number of shots put on her goal.

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Time and time again, as Lake Orion would recover the ball after an Athen's drive, Athens would calmly and efficiently steal the ball and put it back into scoring range.

Efforts made to create an offense were repeatedly denied as the Athens players always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, either by design or luck. Whatever the reason, Lake Orion struggled to mount any shot they could muster. Notably, every shot made on the Athen's goal was a solid effort, but even the Red Hawks' goaltender capitalized on any weakness in the Dragons' offense.

Early in the second half, Athens began putting nails in the coffin of Lake Orion's victory with a solid goal against the then screened Barnes. Lake Orion nearly responded in kind with a wide corner kick which just barely scrapped by the goal post.

As the second half wore on, the final "nails" were placed, with three more goals against Lake Orion - two in the final five minutes of the game.

Despite the lose, Head Coach Ken Snage believed his team played well against what he admitted was a superior team.

"Truthfully Athens is a great team, and I think the best team one that day," said Snage. "Our inexperience really started to show in the second half, the wind was in their favor in then, allowing them to play down the right side, and they just kept crashing at our goal all game.

"But we played a really good game, and as soon as our players get more experience, it will make a huge difference in their careers."

Lake Orion's Girls' Soccer is now 3-4-1, and played again against Dearborn Heights Crestwood on Monday.

They will play yet again on Thursday, May 5 against Troy.

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