STEVENSVILLE – The Lakeshore boys soccer team shut down conference foe Niles in a 4-0 victory Tuesday at Mark Lehmann Memorial Field.
"It was a good shutout win for us," Lakeshore coach Brian Samuel said. "We worked in practice to create more opportunities and we did that. We had a lot of good looks."
The Lancers controlled possession of the ball throughout. Tom Bitzer and Mikey Tibbits each scored a goal to give the Lancers a 2-0 halftime lead, while Eamon Conner and Tony Testini scored in the second half.
"Everyone up top had their moments," Samuel said. "At times we used our speed, at other times we used our technical ability. We're all working hard and trying to get it done."
The Vikings put three shots on goal, and Drew Gourlay made 12 saves to keep the game competitive.
"Drew has been a lifesaver for us in big games," Niles coach Abel Fonseca said. "He's a senior and he's coming through for us. He's holding things down for us while the offense continues to learn. He's doing his part, for sure."
Lakeshore has been working on creating scoring opportunities in practice and the effort showed in Tuesday's game against the Vikings. The Lancers fired off 15 shots on goal.
Now comes the next step.
"We have to finish," Samuel said. "We've been struggling to create opportunities and I think we're doing a better job now. We had some beautiful crosses and we're just not putting them in the back of the net.
"We continue to learn and improve."
As a first-year head coach of the Vikings, Fonseca sees his team adapting to his philosophy game by game.
"I think we did well tonight," Fonseca said. "Lakeshore is very athletic so the speed was tough for us, but as the game got going we settled down. I think we had some opportunities that we needed to capitalize on.
"We're still building team chemistry and they're learning the style of play I'm teaching them. We're improving every game; it's a learning process."
Lakeshore (3-4 SMAC, 7-6) will face Portage Central at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Central, while Niles (0-6 SMAC, 4-7-1) will travel to face St. Joseph at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Lakeshore 4, Niles 0
Goals – Tom Bitzer, Mikey Tibbits, Eamon Conner, Tony Testini.
Assists – Justin Hafling, Tony Testini, Nathon Marohn, Lars Samuel.
Shots on goal – Lakeshore 15, Niles 3.
Saves – Oli Carmody (L) 3, Drew Gourlay (N) 12.
Halftime – Lakeshore 2-0.
Records – Lakeshore 3-4 SMAC, 7-6-0. Niles 0-6 SMAC, 4-7-1.
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