WHITE BEAR LAKE — After dashing Stillwater’s conference and section title hopes a year ago, White Bear Lake landed the first blow this season while clipping the Ponies 2-1 in Thursday’s Suburban East Conference game at Price Field.
The Bears scored twice during a four-minute stretch early in the first half and held on for the victory in the conference opener. Stillwater (0-1 SEC, 2-2), the section and conference runner-up a year ago, answered with a goal early in the second half but could not overcome the Bears.
“I think White Bear Lake will probably be one of the top three or four teams,” said Ponies coach Mike Huber, noting last year’s SEC champion finished with two losses so Stillwater has no reason to feel left out of the chase going forward. “My feeling is that even though it’s a big game and it’s unfortunate to lose, at the same time we are by no means out of it.”
Elizabeth Lastovich scored first for the Bears in the eighth minute of the first half and teammate Laura Handke extended the lead to 2-0 four minutes later.
“Sometimes we just make some simple mental mistakes,” Huber said. “Basically, it boiled down to simple positioning or simple mistakes and they are all correctable and it’s things we can work on an improve on. We need to put these last two games behind us and keep moving forward and improve as we move forward.
“It was a pretty even game overall, unfortunately they came out and scored those two early goals which puts us in a hole to start.”
The Ponies, who also suffered a 3-2 loss against Hill-Murray on Wednesday, answered in the eighth minute of the second half as Ivy Thompson scored her first varsity goal on a corner kick by Ali Schilling.
Stillwater has now scored on a corner kick in all four games this season.
“We’ve actually been pretty successful on corner kicks,” Huber said. “We’ve just got to keep finding other ways to create scoring opportunities and put the ball into the net. There’s room to improve, but I think we’re going in the right direction.”
Stillwater 0 1 — 1
White Bear Lake 2 0 — 2
WBL — 8:00 — Elizabeth Lastovich (NA)
WBL — 12:00 — Laura Handke (unassisted)
St — 8:00 — Ivy Thompson (Ali Schilling)
Shots on goal — St: 5; WBL: 7.
Corner kicks — St: 3; WBL: 6.
Fouls — St: 7; WBL: 9.
Goalie saves — St: Christina Bartingale 5; WBL: NA — 6.
Contact Stuart Groskreutz at email@example.com