By Nick Beversdorf
After a loss to Wausau West on Tuesday (May 17), Merrill won against Marshfield yesterday with a final score of 3-2. This win was not a result of some lucky goal or fluke play, but instead from a sustained, coordinated effort from both the offense and defense.
Marshfield got the early lead with a goal at almost the 7-minute mark, but Merrill responded a minute later with a beautiful goal from Alisha Scantlin, assisted by Allison Winter-Reed. This would be Scantlin’s first goal of her varsity career. Later, Brianna Grosskurth got shoved from behind in the box, setting up a penalty kick. She placed a perfect ball to the far left that the keeper couldn’t possibly block.
About 23 seconds later, Marshfield got a weak goal that bounced right under Gabby Schlegel. Unfazed, Merrill continued their offensive effort and at the 14-minute mark, Mae Litschauer notched a goal with an assist from freshman Hunter Zecca; another well-placed pass to a perfectly-positioned player who capitalized.
“This was the first game that the girls finally put everything together and did exactly what we’ve been working on in practice, and better yet, they put together a full 90-minute game!” comments head coach Stephanie Nelson. “It’s been a long haul for them; a lot of practices spent going through skills and drills meant to build up to a day that seemed to never want to come. We’ve been so darn close and now we finally got what we earned and deserved.”
Merrill had 10 shots-eight on goal, six fouls and two corner kicks. Goalie Gabby Schlegel had 11 saves and two goals allowed.
“Marshfield’s stats look better than ours (Marshfield had 21 total shots, 13 on goal), but we had a lot of quality to ours,” adds Nelson. “Our first three shots of the game were all goals. Gabby Schlegel came up big on a couple saves, but for the most part, Marshfield’s shots on goal gave Gabby an easy night in net. Not to mention, the rest of her team possessed the ball extremely well the entire game and our defense did a great job of not giving a lot of good opportunities up; all their shots were well contested.”
Loss to West
Last Tuesday, Merrill lost to Wausau West with a final score of 5-0. Despite Merrill playing relatively well, West was able to capitalize on many opportunities while Merrill couldn’t seem to get the ball into the net.
“They vastly out-shot us (17 total/10 on goal, and 3 total/2 on for us), but we played better than that even said. Gabby ended the night with five nice saves that saved us from the game looking even worse. West is not a 5-0 team; they’re not that skillful, but they just did a good job of scoring goals when they had the chance… That’s the unfortunate thing about soccer… you can possess and play well, but still lose.”