Tigers take down Bluejays
The third time wasn’t the charm when the Merrill girls soccer team visited Marshfield for its opening round game of the playoffs last Tuesday.
The Tigers scored twice in a little over five minutes, and built a 7-0 halftime lead on the way to an 8-0 win.
NCAA D2 college prospect Darian Molter scored three times by the 23rd minute, and also added the final goal in the 45th minute of the 80-minute game.
“The game did not go as planned,” MHS coach Steph Nelson said. “We practiced hard and extremely well all week. The girls were moving the ball well and had a lot of great offensive opportunities, which normally we don’t get a whole lot of.
“We had the plan on marking their best player (Molter). Unfortunately, she’s just so good that even with Emily Page doing an awesome job denying her in many chances, she’s going to get to the ball and put it in the net. She scored at the 3:44 mark with a jumping header that I never thought she’d get to much less put so much power on a head shot. She had the first three goals of the game and then another girl had a goal before we took Emily off her since we needed her to start up our own offense then. We then shifted gears and just set a different goal of getting a goal of our own. We ended up getting three shots on goal with another four that were close. Bree Grosskurth clanked one off the post late in the game and it got us all so excited!”
Julia Urban added a goal and two assists to the Tigers’ attack. Taylor Hudzinski (7 goals against, 5 saves) and Morganne Noland (1 GA, 7 S) shared goalie duties. Kayla Sutton saved another goal while covering the post.
The Bluejays posted a 2-15 record in 2014.
“The improvement that I saw the girls make throughout the season should have shown the score go down from the two 6-0 losses that we had against them in the season, but I guess sometimes it’s not in the cards. It does, however, make me excited for next year,” Nelson said.
“We’re trying to get some changes done to the summer soccer league to see more improvement from all players who play in it, plus we’ll be doing more open soccer sessions throughout the year. My biggest hope is that the girls come into the season next year in better shape, so that we can focus more on their skill development rather than getting them in game shape. We have a lot of younger girls that show a lot of potential and while we had a senior-heavy team with seven this year, we have juniors and sophomores who got a lot better, not to mention a freshmen class with a lot of potential.”