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Mill Creek girls ride defense in first-ever victory over Collins Hill

Photo: David McGregor

Photo: David McGregor

SUWANEE -- Screams echoed across the hosting Fahring Field, but on senior night it was the visiting girls making the ruckus.

A 1-0 Mill Creek girls soccer win over Collins Hill meant more than a road victory or a region triumph. It resonated longer than just one night because it's been five years coming.

For five years, Collins Hill always walked away a winner in its meetings with Mill Creek, but that ended Friday.

"Epic," Hawks' goalie Tessa Lukens said of the win. "It was a huge win."

And Lukens played a huge part.

The Mill Creek junior keeper stopped everything that came her way, often stopping shots before they came. She made one diving save and helped turn away five corner kicks.

"She is a smart player," Mill Creek head coach Brent Leitsch said of Lukens. "She is sure-handed."

What she lacks in height, Lukens covered with good instincts against Collins Hill. The Eagles controlled the ball most of the game, out-shooting Mill Creek 10-6 and making constant runs at the goal.

"It was difficult," Lukens said of the Eagles' pressure. "I seemed to make the right decisions."

And when Lukens wasn't making saves, her back row of defenders was turning Collins Hill away. Even with three starters injured, the group of Jessica Hall, Hannah Eison, Hannah Hoffmann and Courtney Dobek squelched most every Collins Hill charge. Before shots came, they forced passes or redirected the attacker.

"They adjusted well to how Collins Hill was playing," Lukens said of her defenders. "They were right on today."

"They were gritty," Leitsch said. "They never quit. They won it with heart tonight."

Heart, and just enough offense.

Torie Scalera scored two goals last year against Collins Hill and plays with many of the Eagle players on her club team. But even she surprised herself with her offense Friday.

"It's indescribable," Scalera said of her goal.

In the 19th minute, Scalera stole the ball off the foot of Collins Hill's Lizzie Lohmar, dribbled to her left and with her left foot put the ball in the goal's top corner.

"I was impressed," Scalera said of her shot. "I am right-and left-footed, but mostly right.

"After the goal we stepped it up. We knew we had it."

The rest of the game was all defense for Mill Creek and even in the final seconds they turned away a flurry of Collins Hill runs.

"They never quit," Leitsch said. "I can't say enough about this team. Everybody stepped up.

"It's about time we came here and won this game."