NORTH ST. PAUL — It was a successful season-opener for Jaime Purdie and first-year head coach Mike Huber as the Stillwater girls’ soccer team blanked North St. Paul 5-0 in Thursday’s nonconference game.
Purdie, a sophomore, scored three goals in her first-ever varsity game — including two of Stillwater’s three goals during a seven-minute stretch to open the second half — as the Ponies seized control after the intermission.
“In the first half we had some chances, but we missed some opportunities,” Huber said. “We said let’s take it to them right away (in the second half) we just came out and played a lot better.”
The Ponies (1-0) played a solid first half, but didn’t break through against North St. Paul goalkeeper Bailey Henderson until Purdie scored with five minutes remaining before halftime.
Purdie gave Stillwater a 2-0 lead less than four minutes into the second half and Shelby Litchy struck against about a minute later to build a three-goal cushion. Purdie completed the hat trick about seven minutes into the half for a 4-0 lead and the Polars never recovered.
“She is a center midfielder by nature, but we asked her to play forward because we knew she could score some goals,” Huber said. “Her first varsity game, that’s awesome. It wasn’t a bad way to start.”
Mackenzie Farrington also contributed a goal with about 15 minutes remaining for Stillwater, which held a 15-3 advantage in shots on goal.
“North St. Paul didn’t have very many opportunities overall,” Huber said. “We did control the play and had the majority of the shots. We played well the entire game and the defense was solid.”
Megan Holthaus started and made two saves for the Ponies while Christina Bartingale turned away one shot over the last 20 minutes of the game.
Huber was impressed with his team’s physical play an intensity during the game.
“They came out and had the fire and intensity to succeed,” the coach said. “They played hard and we were much more physical than I would have thought — we don’t see that in practice every day.”
Stillwater 1 4 — 5
North St. Paul 0 0 — 0
St — 35:00 — Jaime Purdie (Hannah Okerstrom)
St — 4:00 — Purdie
St — 5:00 — Shelby Litchy
St — 7:00 — Purdie
St — 25:00 — Mackenzie Farrington
Shots on goal — St: 15; NSP: 3.
Corner kicks — St: 3; NSP: 1.
Goalie saves — St: Megan Holthaus (60 minutes) — 2 and Christina Bartingale (20 minutes) 1; NSP: Bailey Henderson (80 minutes) — 10.