Nick Sabato/Lakeland TimesLakeland goalkeeper Clair Kaminski launches a free kick during the second half of a 2-1 Great Northern Conference loss to Northland Pines on Thursday, May 17, at River Valley Bank Field.
Nick Sabato/Lakeland Times

Lakeland goalkeeper Clair Kaminski launches a free kick during the second half of a 2-1 Great Northern Conference loss to Northland Pines on Thursday, May 17, at River Valley Bank Field.
With the girls' soccer regular season nearing its end, Lakeland Union High School had two more games to improve its resume prior to tomorrow's seeding meeting for the WIAA Playoffs.

On Thursday, the Thunderbirds hosted Northland Pines in a Great Northern Conference tilt at River Valley Bank Field and then traveled to Kingsford, Mich., for a non-conference game on Friday.

Pines dominates second half

After an evenly played, scoreless first half, things took a turn after halftime.

Northland Pines took control of the game and held Lakeland to just one shot on goal in the final 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, the Lady Eagles scored two goals in four minutes in what would eventually be a 2-1 loss for the T-Birds.

"Everything was even in the first half, but in the second half they definitely took over," LUHS head coach Stephanie Hartzheim said. "They had more possession, they had more shots than us. We had two shots and one of them was a goal. So the second half they definitely came out stronger."

A key turning point in the game was junior Erika Intrepidi leaving the game with a head injury.

Intrepidi's absence took away an important offensive punch and playmaker for Lakeland up front.

"With Erika being out, it definitely had an impact on our team," Hartzheim said. "She's a strong player, she has great crosses, she gets the game, she's aggressive and I think that really hurt us on the outside with not having our key outside players. With someone getting hurt, girls have to play different spots. I was playing people that normally don't play out there so learning and picking up how to play outside mid(fielder) is hard when you're in the middle of the game."

Olivia Killian scored on an assist from Sagen Quale with just less than three minutes left in the game.

Flipping the script

On Friday, Lakeland had a chance to bounce back against Kingsford in what turned out to be another close game.

This time around, the T-Birds were able to come away with the win, as Killian's goal was the game's only marker, 1-0.

"We had more possession the first half than the second half," Hartzheim said. "They pressured us pretty hard the second half, but they left a huge gap in the middle so we had room to control the ball and we were noticing how much we filled the middle and where they kept their defense back."

Killian's goal came midway through the first half off a free kick. Linnea Turner touched it first, dishing to Killian, who put it away for the eventual game-winner.

"It was pretty even (at the time of the goal) - we had more possession of the ball with better passes, give-and-go's and we were controlling the ball more," Hartzheim said. "They were down on our half just as much in the first half."

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Clair Kaminski was kept busy throughout the game.

The Flivvers put 23 shots on goal, with Kaminski making 12 saves to pick up the shutout win.

"There were definitely a lot of shots on goal," Hartzheim said. "Some of them were bouncers and not actual solid shots on goal, but Clair had to come out of the goal a lot. Before the game I made all the girls write a personal goal down and Clair's was to come out of the goal and not let up a goal from that. She met her goal, so she was pretty happy."

Lakeland finds out its playoff fate tomorrow before wrapping up the regular season with a GNC match against Mosinee at River Valley Bank Field starting at 7 p.m.

Nick Sabato may be reached at or via Twitter@NickSabatoLT.