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updated: 5/1/2014 11:34 PM

Lakes takes Prairie title

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By Rusty Silber
Daily Herald Correspondent

Two freshmen with the same first name were the key.

Yes, a pair of Isabellas led the way for Lakes' girls soccer team.

The two, with last names of Quaranta and Pighini, scored as the Eagles flew past visiting Wauconda 2-1 in a North Suburban Prairie Division game in Lake Villa on Thursday afternoon.

The victory for Lakes (11-3) clinched the Prairie Division title with a mark of 5-0. It was also their first division title since 2010 and third overall. Wauconda dropped to 6-6-1 and 3-2.

"It's great to actually prevail, because every one of these division games have been very difficult," Lakes coach Kevin Kullby said.

Despite a generally young roster, the Eagles have learned from their experiences.

"This year in many ways we're a younger team with a number of juniors," Kullby said. "They've won these tight games. In the past they would lose those games. This year, this team has found ways to win these type of games. Their experience is starting to show, and they don't get rattled by what's going on the field. They keep playing, make a break and make it count."

Quaranta broke the scoreless tie in the 58th minute. Maya Schmitt sent a long service that was touched by Nicole D'Ambrose, who got the ball to Quaranta. She beat a defender and scored her third goal of the season.

"It was all on the service," Quarantana said. "I made a good run for it to get the shot."

Pighini scored the other Eagles goal off a quick cross from Schmitt in the 73rd minute for a 2-0 advantage.

Wauconda tallied its only goal in the final minute from Emma Lewandowski.

The Bulldogs started the season slowly, but have turned things around with a six-game winning streak before taking losses to Vernon Hills and now Lakes.

"We're a younger team, but at first it was bumpy, said Alyssa Stepanian, a senior midfielder. "We got on the right path and we're doing well. We've had a couple of bumps in the road over the past couple of games.

"Lakes just had better passing than us and controlled the ball more."

Wauconda would've liked a better outcome but coach Patrick Heckmann liked what he saw from his squad.

"Compared to Vernon Hills (Wednesday)," said Heckmann, "this was a completely different team. I was happy with their effort. To see them bounce back was outstanding."

Lakes will host the NSC Championship game against Lake Division champion Lake Zurich next Thursday.

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