NORTH ST. PAUL — Asked to contribute more on the scoring end this season, Stillwater’s Natalie Johnson came through with two goals and added an assist the Ponies knocked off North St. Paul 4-0 in Thursday’s season-opening girls’ soccer game.
Leah Nitardy scored on an assist by Ali Schilling in the sixth minute of the game and freshman Kallie Clements added a goal with 10 minutes remaining in the first half on an assist by Johnson to give the Ponies a two-goal cushion.
It was more of the same in the second half as Johnston scored twice during a six-minute stretch on assists by Nitardy and Lexie Andres for a 4-0 advantage.
“Natalie was a defender for us last year, but with the absence of Shelby (Litchy to graduation) we have to find new ways to score,” Ponies coach Mike Huber said. “It was nice to see Natalie could transition and getting two goals and an assist tonight.”
The Ponies held a 19-2 advantage in shots on goal, but it wasn’t a flawless performance by any means.
“We had a lot of chances,” Huber said. “This is a game that could have been a lot more lop-sided than it was. We had a lot of shots. For a first game it was OK, but our passing and foot skills weren’t as sharp as they normally would be. It was a good game to start and get a win, but there’s a lot of things we need to work on.”
Megan Holthaus and Christina Bartingale made three saves while sharing the goaltending duties for Stillwater.
Stillwater 2 2 — 4
North St. Paul 0 0 — 0
St — 6:00 — Leah Nitardy (Ali Schilling)
St — 30:00 — Kallie Clements (Natalie Johnson)
St — 29:00 — Johnson (Nitardy)
St — 35:00 — Johnson (Lexie Andres)
Shots on goal — St: 19; NSP: 3.
Corner kicks — St: 8; NSP: 1.
Fouls — St: 3; NSP: 3.
Goalie saves — St: Megan Holthaus 1 and Christina Bartingale 2; NSP: NA 15.
Contact Stuart Groskreutz at email@example.com