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Northville's #25 Cassidy Ebach and Novi's #13 Chloe Allen battle for possession during their game at Northville High School, Tuesday April 23, 2013. (Oakland Press Photo:Vaughn Gurganian)

Soccer - Girls

GIRLS SOCCER: Novi and Northville play to a scoreless draw WITH VIDEO

Novi's goalie #0 Jade Antolec and Northville's #11 Emily Bush go up for the ball during their game at Northville High School, Tuesday April 23, 2013. (Oakland Press Photo:Vaughn Gurganian)

Novi's #14 Erin Dircks and Northville's #16 Karen Lovelace battle for the ball during their game at Northville High School, Tuesday April 23, 2013. (Oakland Press Photo:Vaughn Gurganian)

Novi's #14 Erin Dircks tries to control a pass while closely defended by Northville's #16 Karen Lovelace during their game at Northville High School, Tuesday April 23, 2013. (Oakland Press Photo:Vaughn Gurganian)

Game Info

Soccer - Girls - 4/23/2013 

Northville 0
Novi 0

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NORTHVILLE — Collecting points early in the season is crucial in any sport. But there’s always added pressure when a rivalry and first place is on the line.

That was the case on Tuesday night when rivals Novi and Northville met on the soccer field tied for first place in the Kensington Lakes Athletic Association Central Division.

Points were at a premium, but neither team could take sole possession of first place as the Wildcats and Mustangs battled to a 0-0 draw.

“It was just a hard fought game,” Novi head coach Brian O’Leary said. “That’s the way it always is, even if you go back for years. Every time we play (Northville) it’s an intense affair. It was a skilled match, and people played hard.”

The hard play resulted in two yellow cards (one issued to each team) in the second half after the officials issued a warning with about 28 minutes left in the game.

The yellow card issued to Novi with 40 seconds remaining in the half opened the door the for the Mustangs (5-1-1, 2-0-1 KLAA) to get one last quality scoring chance.

Junior defender Ashley Peper delivered a hard lead to the net that set up a header for senior Gabbie Guibord that the Wildcats (4-1-1, 2-0-1 KLAA) controlled and cleared.

“We tried to link up our forwards on the free kick,” Northville head coach Eric Brucker said. “We knew where the ball would be played, we just couldn’t get the ball where we wanted it after we linked up our midfielders.”

Northville added another good try in the first half from Peper that just sailed over the crossbar when she was awarded a free kick from 25-yards out.

With 12:35 left in the second half, junior forward Rachel Yaggi had a good try from the right side that just missed the net as well.

The Wildcats didn't carry play in the first half, but took control in the second half, recording all of their six shots on goal after figuring out Northville’s defense.

“We learned a lot from the first half,” O’Leary said. “But our girls made adjustments. And through those adjustments, we were able to carry play. We struggled with things, but that’s what I love about these girls. They’re coachable.”

Those coachable moments lead to three straight set pieces in the span of a minute and a half that gave Novi a chance to get on the board first. Junior Taylor Pavilka offered three straight corners that Northville goalie Kiki Hilmer had to turn away to keep her team in the game.

“Those set pieces were dangerous,” O’Leary said. “A break here or there we would have had a goal. They were all close. Northville is a good team that makes it hard to put the ball in the net.”

“It helps that Kiki is a senior and that she’s been on this team since her freshman year,” Brucker said. “She helps lead this team and the defense to minimize those chances.

“But, we defended our home field, which is big in a rivalry.”

O’Leary likes to preach to this players that each upcoming game is the biggest game. He said he wants his players to learn from each contest and get better each week so the Wildcats are playing their best soccer at the end of the year.

With both Novi and Northville still tied atop the KLAA Central, the Wildcats will on Salem on Thursday on the road.

Northville will play at South Lyon on Thursday.

Last Updated: 4/23/2013 10:23:57 PM EST


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