By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg varsity girls’ soccer team only needed one half to beat the Niles Vikings 8-0 on senior night, and they did it without their goalie touching the ball once through the whole contest.
The Vikings only got past midfield three or four times the whole game as the Bulldogs dominated with ball control and continuous, unrelenting pressure on the net. Cate Curtis opened the scoring for Vicksburg after a nice pass from Bella Hillard. It wasn’t long after that before Hillard scored a goal of her own, lofting a perfect shot into the top left corner of the net where the goalie couldn’t reach it.
Malorie Heflin was the next Bulldog to score with an assist from Madison Ames. Vicksburg went up 3-0. The one consistent throughout the night was the excellent teamwork.
“They did good. My starters were passing the ball today, I was really pleased with that,” Head Coach Lahou Boulnemour said. “We have three or four really good players, and they were dominating the whole game, basically.”
One of those players was Curtis, as she managed a hat trick with the next two Vicksburg goals, both coming on assists from Hillard. Curtis’ third goal of the night came from a perfectly placed corner kick that she blasted into the back of the net past the goalie before the ball could ever touch the ground.
The last two goals of the night were scored by Rebecca Amabili, on a wild scrum near the front of the net, and by Emily Ouding. Her game-ending eighth goal of the contest came with about three minutes left in the half. Officials decided to run the half out before calling the mercy rule. The Bulldogs nearly put another goal or two in the net before the game finished.
“Niles, they’re pretty young. They’re like us, they’re rebuilding,” Boulnemour said.
Because the game ended early, the team celebrated senior night for Amabili, Curtis, and Madison Foster at the end of the game. The Bulldogs are set to face the Vikings again in District play. They finished the regular season with a 6-9-3 record, ending with a 5-1 win over Three Rivers. After a slow 0-5-3 start to the season, the girls picked up wins over Edwardsburg, Allegan, Sturgis and Otsego in the second half of the season.
With Vicksburg losing just three seniors this season, the rest of the squad is composed mostly of freshman and sophomores, giving the team lots of room to grow in the coming seasons.
“Our team is coming along. They’re still a young team and they’ve got a long ways to go, but they surprised me, they really did,” Boulnemour said. “Our players today wanted this game and we’re going to get ready for the districts now.”
By Travis Smola