THE BLADE/LORI KING Enlarge | Buy This Photo
Springfield withstood constant pressure from Northview and the Blue Devils cashed in on one of their few offensive opportunities in a key Northern Lakes League boys soccer game on Tuesday night.
Junior Alex Lucio scored on his own rebound early in the second half to lead the Blue Devils to a 1-0 victory on a chilly night at Springfield Community Stadium.
Senior goalie Alex Archambeau made 12 saves, including several stellar stops in the second half, to post the shutout. Springfield (7-1-1 overall) improved to 2-1-1 in NLL play, while Northview (6-2-0, 3-1-0) suffered its first league loss.
"We took care of business here at home tonight," Springfield coach Eric Swindel said. "We had a real good idea that they would be heavy pressure, so we had to have a game plan to hold possession. And in the second half we had some opportunities. We put the ball to the middle and we scored."
Despite being significantly outshot, Springfield took a 1-0 lead in the 48th minute. Senior Corey Valerius made a nice pass up to Lucio, whose first shot hit the right post. Lucio got to the ricochet before Northview goalie John Wendt and Lucio scored to make it 1-0.
"Corey gave me a great ball over and at first it hit the post and I got scared," Lucio said. "But it came back around the goalie and luckily I stayed with the play and it was there for me. It's awesome to put my team up 1-0 because it got the team fired up. I know I made the difference."
Northview nearly tied it in the 60th minute but Alex O'Donnell's shot went just wide of the net. Archambeau came up with his best save in the 68th minute when he stopped a shot from 25 yards out. Moments later he made a nice save on another point blank shot to keep the one-goal cushion.
Archambeau credited his defenders, especially Devin Burns, Jalen Shorter, Steven Gallagher, and Josh Siers.
"[The pressure] was a bit much at times," Archambeau said. "But I have a great back four in front of me. It's a great feeling when the crowd cheers for the big save. Words can't describe it. It boosts your team."
In a scoreless first half, Northview controlled the play. The Wildcats put six shots on goal and had 15 shots on net while the Blue Devils had just one. Overall, Northview put 27 shots toward the Springfield net and the Blue Devils had eight.
"It's tough to swallow," Northview coach Jon Haynes said. "You can carry the play but if you don't do anything with the play it makes it difficult to win. That's soccer. The best team doesn't always win. The most chances doesn't guarantee you're going to win the game."
Swindel said Archambeau is a great player and credited Valerius for his assist on the game winner.
"Alex makes every save on the field. He is a good leader and captain. He will be a college goalie," Swindel said. "On the goal, it was a great pass from Corey Valerius. He's been our leading assist man. Alex had a nice follow up and put it away."
The Wildcats face rival Southview (8-0-2, 4-0-0 NLL) on Monday and Anthony Wayne (4-0-0) on Oct. 2.
"We have yet to play Southview and Anthony Wayne and we will prepare ourselves to win those matches," Haynes said.
The Blue Devils, who lost to defending champion Southview and tied Perrysburg, have three league games left.
"We consider ourselves a real contender for the NLL this year so we had our sites set on Northview and Southview," Swindel said. "This overcomes our loss and now we have to hope Anthony Wayne or Northview knocks off Southview."
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.