CHANHASSEN — It was an abrupt conclusion to a much-improved season for the Stillwater adapted soccer team, which was stopped by Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee 7-2 in the section playoffs on Wednesday at Chaska High School.
The Ponies, who finished with a 5-5 record, were seeking their first trip to the state tournament since 2006 when they won the second of their two state titles. It was still a vast improvement from last year’s 2-7 campaign, according to coach Rob Hollerbach,
“We were competitive in each game we played this year,” the coach said. “The kids did great, especially for having such a small team. I’ve enjoyed working with them and it was a very good season. There wasn’t anybody who should walk away with their heads down. I’m proud of them.”
Stillwater endured a sluggish start on Wednesday as the opponents jumped out to a 5-1 first-half lead. Nick Bratrud and Aaron Brennan provided much of the offensive firepower for Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee while goalkeeper Amber Olson stopped numerous strong scoring chances for the Ponies, who attempted more shots on goal than their opponents.
“Their goalie did a good job of stopping the low ball and our guys are taught to shoot at the low corner or high corner,” Hollerbach said.
Austin Harjes scored Stillwater’s long first-half goal and Riley Cludy added a second-half tally on an assist by Devin Wildes.
Cludy played an exceptional game on goal to keep the game close, Hollerbach added.
“Riley had an excellent game in goal and the shots that got in should have because they were right where nobody could get them,” the coach said. “He did a great job of keeping the score where it was.
“Cali Capistrant played her best game of the year on defense and Sam Sundgaard and Hannah Johnson also played extremely well.”