ORLEANS–To say it has been an interesting couple of days for the 11-3 Lake Region girls soccer team would be an understatement.
As was reported on our website this past Friday, head coach Brad Urie was suspended from coaching his team for the remainder of the 2012 season.
Filling in for him since Thursday's practice was athletic director Eric Degre, who along with boy’s varsity coach Tom Evans, were calling the shots on a gorgeous Saturday morning for the Lady Rangers regular season finale.
However, all of that aside, there still was some soccer to be played, and after Lake Region honored the members of the class of 2013 (Mikayla Royer, Drew Neal, Caitlyn Bernier, Sarah Burnham, Ashley Locke and Hannah Leroux) the Lady Rangers went out and disposed of Hazen (3-10-1) 4-0.
"We had a chat after practice and we decided that we were going to play for each other, no matter what was going on," said Locke. "We came together as a team, thought about how far we had come this season and to let it all go, it wasn't worth it."
It could be understood why LR came out feeling a bit sluggish, what with all the happenings surrounding them, but after they shook the events of recent days, they got down to work and started to play some soccer.
As the temperatures climbed into the high 60's so to did the girl's play that morning.
In the first thirty minutes, the team had several point blank shots on Hazen's Renae Hall, including a penalty kick, but couldn't beat the rugged keeper.
In the final ten minutes they just wore her out.
Corrina Cota and Tori Adams hooked up for the game's first tally.
Cota dished a nice pass to Adams who had the easy touch for the goal with 8:22 remaining in the first.
Two minutes later Tyrah Urie's corner kick was tipped in by Neal to make it 2-0.
Megan Menard fed Urie a minute later and Tyrah made it 3-0, getting some revenge for her earlier missed break-away.
With a three goal lead at the half, the team was looking a lot looser and much happier then they did to start the game.
Their was laughter ringing in the air, a light-hearted kind that said "maybe things are going to be OK."
It was okay on the scoreboard, but in the early part of the second things looked a little scary for the Lady Rangers.
Haley Kennedy left the game with a knee injury and a little later, keeper Jordyn Cowles got kicked, then squashed when a Wildcat used her as a seat.
Sydney Whipple came in to replace her and held down the fort admirably.
Urie went "vintage Tyrah" to tally her second score nine minutes into the half.
Using her speed, she split two defenders, went in and buried it lower-left.
Throughout the remainder of the half, Evans utilized the strong Lake Region bench, resting some players, while getting some who have not had a lot of playing time this year into the match.
Said Locke of the second half effort by the group as a whole, "We played very solid team defense. We talked about controlling the middle and keeping the ball on the ground and distributing it.
"Overall we came together as a team and it was nice to see."
A scary moment for Hazen came with just 2:25 left to play.
As Hall went to make a save, a knee found the side of her head and the goalie lay in a heap in front of the Hazen net.
She would eventually be helped off of the field, and after the game, while sitting in the golf cart, said she should be alright.
That would be all there is to tell as far as the game goes, with the clock ticking down to 00:00 without any further incident.
Cowles and Whipple combined for the two-save shut-out, the eighth of the year for the team, giving them one more than Stephanie Merchant had when she posted seven in a season a few years back.
While Evans pretty much dictated what was to happen on the field, he passed on commenting and it was Degre who spoke after the game.
"I am really happy how the girls came out and played very well and strong to finish the regular season. Now we are looking towards the play-offs."
Lake Region, finishing in 4th place in Division II, will host their opening round opponent, which looks to be number twelve Otter Valley.
The two schools did not meet this year during the regular season.
If they advance, another home match will await them.
Date and times to be announced when released by the VPA.