Lake soccer caps season with fourth straight tournament appearance

MILFORD – With a 7-7 regular season record, Lake Forest girls’ soccer earned the No. 10 seed in the 12-team DIAA state tournament field this year.

The Lady Spartans played a hard-fought playoff game against the No. 7-seeded Delaware Military Academy Saturday morning at 11 a.m. in Milford, falling 1-0 with a late DMA goal proving to be the difference.

“Praise all the way through,” said head coach Pietro Randazzo of his team’s defensive effort. “We played a very, very good team. The Lady Spartans showed their true heart. They played 80 minutes, it could have been anybody’s game. We out-played them and it is what it is.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Riley Wood kept the Spartans in the game, making a handful of impressive saves and nearly stopping DMA’s lone goal with 10:47 remaining in the game.

“Amazing,” coach Randazzo said of Wood’s performance in the net. “She did what I asked her to do. She’s the future of Lake Forest soccer in the goalie position and she’s a strong competitor.”

Lake freshman Alexa McCracken kicks the ball past DMA defenders in the Lady Spartans’ 1-0 first-round loss Saturday (The Journal/Ben Heck).

“They did really good,” Riley said of her team’s defensive effort. “Without them I don’t think I would have been able to make the saves I made, because they helped me out a lot.”

The DMA goal was scored by junior Elise Buonopane.

“This is what I expected from them,” DMA head coach Wayne Cox said following the 1-0 game. “They’re an excellent team, they’re well-coached, we knew it would be this kind of game. They have a couple of really nice players, so this is what we expected.”

He continued, “We had a couple of chances early and we missed. Their goalie did well. Again, not taking anything away from them, but we missed a few chances early on.”

The victory will put DMA in a second-round match-up against No. 2 Newark Charter Thursday night.

Although it ended with an early exit, this marks Lake’s fourth consecutive DIAA state tournament appearance.

“It says that they’re hungry for the tournament and we find ways to get back here,” coach Randazzo said of his squad. “Even though this year’s strength of schedule was a lot more challenging, we found ourselves back in the playoffs and hopefully this is a tradition for Lake.”

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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