By Nick Beversdorf
After a series of frustrating losses and one frustrating tie, Merrill got their second win of the entire season on Friday after defeating Ashland 3-2. Merrill now sits at 2-7 overall and 0-7 in the Valley Conference.
It wasn’t a cake walk, but Merrill was able to muster three goals, all courtesy of Devon Annis. At 27:21 in, Annis got the first goal, unassisted, sending in to the right corner. He got another goal in at 31:58, assisted by Taylor Hipke. About five minutes later at 36:43, Ashland got their first goal.
In the second half, Annis got another unassisted goal at 63:47, but Ashland countered with a goal at 71:45. With less than a minute left, a penalty was called on Merrill and Ashland got a free penalty kick. What could have ended in another tie, keeper Mason Gebert lunged to the right and made an epic save to keep the score at 3-2. Ashland was not able to make another goal for the rest of the game, ceding victory to Merrill.
Merrill and Ashland both had 10 shots on goal, with Keeper Mason Gebert having eight saves compared to Ashland’s seven.
“Our guys deserved this win,” comments head coach Kyle Hahn. “It wasn’t pretty, but they got over the line and got a much needed and much deserved win. Devon’s shots were on point tonight and Mason came up with a monumental save on a PK that was given in the last minute of the game.”
Deadlocked game against East
On Thursday (Sept. 29), Merrill and Wausau East ended their match in a frustrating, but somewhat expected, 0-0 tie. Merrill had more shots on goal (eight) compared to East’s four, and for saves the numbers were switched.
“This was always going to be a close game,” adds Hahn. “Much like the first time we played East, our guys came out and controlled the ball and tempo of the game. We had our fair share of chances, but just couldn’t find the back of the net. East likes to pack it in on the defensive end and their keeper came up with a couple of good saves. Credit to our guys for fighting through to the very end.
“East seemed to be okay with the idea of a tie going into the last 10 minutes of the game, but our guys were never going to give in that easy.”
Loss to Everest
On Tuesday (Sept. 27), Merrill fell to DC Everest in a shut-out loss, 7-0. Everest mostly controlled the field until the last 30 minutes when Merrill started to control Everest enough to stop them from making goals.
Everest had seven goals, one at 13:29, 19:22, 34:40, 44:07, 50:15, 53:01 and 59:53. Merrill had five shots on goal compared to Everest’s 14 and keeper Mason Gebert had seven saves compared to Everest’s five.
“A couple of positioning errors and some miscommunication kept us from keeping the game closer. We seemed to figure them out a bit towards the end and kept them out of the net for the last 30 minutes. We also changed our formation a bit to create some more opportunities on the offensive end. We came close a couple of times, but Everest did well to keep us out.”