PUTNAM VALLEY, N.Y. — Lakeland put the pressure on early and often in the Lakeland Girls Summer Soccer League semifinals against Kennedy Catholic at Putnam Valley High School on July 12.

The Hornets showed that hard work pays off as they continued to persist and on a goal by rising senior midfielder Uma Pepic, came away with a 1-0 victory, which saw goalie Nancy Pagliaroli record the shutout for Lakeland.

“This was one of our best games,” Pepic said. “We started the summer league a little rough. We lost to PV (Putnam Valley) 1-0 but we came back and proved that we were meant for No. 1.”

Sign Up for E-News

Lakeland (4-1-1) pressured Kennedy consistently in the first half, but couldn’t get on the scoreboard thanks to the heroics of the Gaels’ (2-2-2) rising junior goalie Julia Ennis.

As it did in the first half, Lakeland continued to maintain possession after halftime, getting numerous shots on goal.

“I would say we were offensively controlling the whole game,” Pepic said. “Most of the girls on the team have been playing together for about six-plus years so we all know how we play, we know how to keep it together. As you can see they had to put five defenders back because our offense is so strong and they really couldn’t get past our defense. Most of our defenders know how to play offense too so all-around we are just an offensive team.”

The pressure the Hornets put on the Gaels finally paid off early in the second half when Pepic put it in right in the middle of the goal, off an assist from Katelyn Bloss.

“Katelyn looked up and I was like, ‘I am open over here,’ so she saw me and she gave me a perfect cross, right to the back post and it just skimmed over Katherine Maurno’s head,” Pepic said. “Then it skimmed over the goalie’s hand and I was wide open, so I just volleyed it in.”

The two teams also played against each other in the regular-season finale on July 10, with  the game ending 0-0.