ST. JOHN -- It would've been easy for Madeleine Radowski to quit.
She could've blamed someone else. She could've just gave up and walked away from the sport she loves so much.
But that isn't who this young lady is.
Radowski was cut as a freshman, then watched her classmates make it all the way to the semistate.
"That was hard," Radowski said. "I had to watch them experience all of that. But the last three years have made up for it."
Radowski was in goal Tuesday night and was unbelievable in Lake Central's 3-1 Duneland Athletic Conference win over Valparaiso. She had 16 saves against an aggressive and athletic Vikings team. Valparaiso hit the post twice in the final 10 minutes of the game when it was still a one-goal contest.
Lauren Bulf got a goal at 7:39 to finish off the scoring after the last five minutes was played in front of Radowski.
L.C. coach Shawn Thomas credited his defense in front of the kid he cut four years ago, especially Anika Berg for giving cover to the Vikings' force.
"What a great story," Thomas said of Radowski. "She had three better goalies in front of her her freshman year and we couldn't keep four. But she kept working and believing and look where she is now.
"She played great. Our defense played great. All the kids on our team put out an exceptional effort against a very good team from Valparaiso."
The Times No. 5 Indians (8-3-1, 3-2) had a 2-1 goal at the halftime break. The No. 6 Vikings (8-4-2, 3-3) got a goal from Claire Brogan at 31:18 of the first half to take the lead.
But Lake Central's Adrianna Naumoski found the back of the net at 30:22 to even the score. Teammate Mackenzie Rainwater found a lose ball in front of the goal, made a nice move to her left and fired the ball in at 24:58.
The Vikings forwards were attacking hard in the opening 40 minutes of play and had several attempts behind L.C.'s defense.
With 29 minutes left in the first half, Radowski batted a ball away in front of the goal for a save that brought the crowd to its feet. Then, with 3:10 remaining in the opening half, she slid across the grass in front of the box to knock the ball away from a streaking Valpo player.
"We've got to clean up some leaks on both sides," Valparaiso coach Rob Cespedes said. "We had 10 great opportunities and we couldn't get more than one? We've got to stop the leaks in the front and in the back."
Two of L.C.'s goals occurred when a ball was mishandled in the box that allowed for an easy tap in for the Indians.
"They had speed, they're a good team," Radowski said. "I got lucky on a couple, too. Sectionals are our next goal and we need to take what we did tonight into the end of the season."