Cougars shut out Red Wolves — Shoot out win earns Lakewood first in school history over Cedarcrest

LAKEWOOD — Getting Lakewood's first win in school history against Cedarcrest should have provided enough drama, but throwing in a dual shutout, overtime and penalty kicks made Thursday's match a program-defining moment.

"This was just huge for us," said Lakewood coach Jeremiah Wohlgemuth. "They've pretty much handled us for the past six years, since the new conference realignment."

For a program that wasn't able to score on Cedarcrest for three of the first six years they've been Cascade Conference rivals, Lakewood has taken giant leaps forward recently, with a 7-1 overall (6-1 CC) record and is off to its best start in nine years.

"Everything is just faster this year," said Lakewood keeper Miranda Head. "We've got some strong defenders."

As has been the case all season for the Cougars, defense was the name of the game Thursday, as the hometown fans saw the Lakewood keeper record her fifth shutout thus far, and improve her penalty kicks record to 2-1 after making three key saves in overtime.

In fact, she's getting so much experience with penalty kicks, it's becoming second-nature.

"I don't think it's gotten any easier," Head said. "But I was pretty confident, especially after the other girl said she was nervous because it was her first time."

Head set the tone at the first penalty kick with a diving to her left, stopping Red Wolves senior captain Ashton Griffen's attempt. Cedarcrest's keeper Kori Butterfield made a stop right after that, but Lakewood wasn't stopped from that point, making four of five kicks and besting its opponents two scores.

The ending shouldn't take away the brilliant play by the Cougars, who began the game with the intention of pressuring the Red Wolves. Although this strategy was without the desired result, forward Alisha Stott shined by manufacturing a trio of runs inside the opening 10 minutes, two of which resulted in shots and Cedarcrest saves. In all, Stott shot the ball seven times and was the driving force behind the a Lakewood attack that looked to keep the momentum of scoring 14 goals in the previous two games.

"Our main focus has been on defense," Wohlgemuth said. "And I can't ask for a better job on our back line, which is made up of two freshmen and a sophomore."

The Cougars finished the first half of the season in second place, behind undefeated Archbishop Murphy.

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