FOREST LAKE — It was a good night on the scoreboard and in the Suburban East Conference standings for the Stillwater girls’ soccer team following Tuesday’s 7-0 victory over Forest Lake.
The Ponies (4-1-1 SEC, 7-3-2), who are unbeaten in their past seven games, gained ground on conference leader and sixth-ranked White Bear Lake after the Bears (5-0-1, 10-1-1) played Park to a 1-all tie on Tuesday. Roseville (4-1-1, 8-3-1) is also tied with Stillwater in second place after defeating Hastings 2-0 on Tuesday. After facing Cretin-Derham Hall on Thursday and section rival Mahtomedi on Saturday, the Ponies close out their conference schedule by hosting Roseville and traveling to White Bear Lake for the finale next week.
Stillwater used a balanced attack to upend the Rangers, with Anna Pedersen scoring two goals and 10 different players collecting at least one point. The Ponies, who held a 17-5 advantage in shots on goal, struck four times to highlight an otherwise flat first half.
“Personally, I was frustrated the first half,” Ponies coach Mike Huber said. “There were times we weren’t winning the balls in the air. Even though it was nice to score early goals there were still things I thought we struggled with. We haven’t been much of a first-half team, so it was nice to get there, but at the same time we lulled into it.”
Natalie Johnson scored less than four minutes into the game while Leah Nitardy, Shelby Litchy and Maddie Schaak also found the back of the net in the first half for a 4-0 lead.
The Ponies scored on four of their six shots in the first half, but created more opportunities while peppering the net with 11 shots after the intermission.
“The second half was much better,” Huber said. “The goals in the first half were the shots, the second half we had more opportunities. We won more of those 50-50 balls in the midfield and it was all the way around a better effort.”
Despite Stillwater’s increased pressure, the margin remained four goals until the 29th minute of the second half when Pedersen scored the first of her two goals on an assist by Lexie Andres. She added another tally three minutes later for a six-goal cushion and Maddie Anderson completed the scoring with four minutes remaining on an assist from Jaime Purdie.
“We’ve had a lot of balanced scoring this year,” Huber said. “Shelby has led the way, but it’s been nice to see that balance across the board. It keeps everybody involved and it’s exciting to see. We have many weapons to use.”
Megan Holthaus and Christina Bartingale combined to make five saves as the Ponies recorded their fourth straight shutout and seventh overall.
Stillwater 4 3 — 7
Forest Lake 0 0 — 0
St — 3:30 — Natalie Johnson (Allie Boucher)
St — 11:54 — Leah Nitardy (unassisted)
St — 33:57 — Shelby Litchy (unassisted)
St — 34:29 — Maddie Schaak (Nitardy)
St — 29:23 — Anna Pedersen (Lexie Andres)
St — 32:43 — Pedersen (Mackenzie Farrington)
St — 36:00 — Maddie Anderson (Jaime Purdie)
Shots on goal — St: 17; FL: 5.
Corner kicks — St: 6; FL: 1.
Fouls — St: 4; FL: 1.
Goalie saves — St: Megan Holthaus (55 minutes) 2 and Christina Bartingale (25 minutes) 3; FL: NA (80 minutes) 10.