Girls soccer: Perseverance pays off for Ponies

 

OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Despite getting battered by injuries, the Stillwater girls’ soccer team reeled off its third in a row on Tuesday with a 3-0 Suburban East Conferen victory over Roseville at Pony Stadium.

The Ponies (2-2 SEC, 6-3) played with six regular starters sidelined by a variety of ailments, including the recent news that senior captain and University of North Dakota recruit Natalie Johnson will miss the rest of the season because of an ACL injury that will require surgery. She joined a large cast of teammates also relegated to the bench, including Elise Hendrickson (ACL), Ivy Thompson (concussion), Ali Schilling (mononucleosis), Larissa Colvin (ankle) and Tracy Mather (broken foot).

“We call it the curse of our defenders,” Ponies coach Mike Huber lamented. “I’ve been coaching high school for 16 years and I’ve never had a team that has had this many significant injuries. Every defender we have is out. Out of our four defenders (Tuesday) only one had ever played their before.”

The coach had just three subs available for Tuesday’s game, although he was pleased with the efforts of those who perservered through the adversity to blank the Raiders.

“The good thing is that we had a lot of new players and they stepped up and played well and did what we asked them to do,” Huber said. “It was good to see the kids that were playing out of position or hadn’t played, come in and contribute and play well.”

Peri Hoff broke a scorless tie with four minutes remaining in the first half as she knocked in a corner kick by Lexie Andres.

Stillwater struck again two minutes into the second half as Kallie Clements ran under a through ball by Caroline Meier and lifted a shot over the head of goalkeeper Sarah Caldow and into the net for a 2-0 lead.

Then in the 50th minute, Natalie Weidner carried the ball in from the midfield and fired a shot into the net to provide a three-goal cushion.

The Ponies outshot the Raiders 19-2 and also created 12 corner kicks, compared to just two for their opponents.

“For the most part we pretty much controll most of the game,” Huber said.

 

Roseville 0 0 — 0

Stillwater 1 2 — 3

 

St — 36:00 — Peri Hoff (Lexie Andres)

St — 42:00 — Kallie Clements (Caroline Meier)

St — 50:00 — Natalie Weidner (unassisted)

 

Shots on goal — Ros: 2; St: 19.

Corner kicks — Ros: 2; St: 12.

Fouls — Ros: 1; St: 9.

Goalie saves — Ros: Sarah Caldow 15 and Makenzie Rene Madison 1; St: Megan Holthaus 2.

 

Stillwater 2, Anoka 1 (2 OT)

At Oak Park Heights, the miserable weather conditions didn’t seem nearly as bad after Caroline Meier scored the game-winner in double overtime to lift Stillwater to a 2-1 nonconference girls’ soccer victory over Anoka on Saturday at Pony Stadium.

Natalie Weidner delivered a crossing pass that Meier headed past goalkeeper Katherine Verkuilen a minute into the second overtime.

“There was a little bit of traffic and she fought through defenders and put a head on it,” Ponies coach Mike Huber said.

Intermitten rain showers created slick and sloppy field conditions, but the Ponies (5-3) were able to bounce back after giving up the trying goal to Kaitlin Beckman with just four minutes remaining in regulation.

“The weather wasn’t ideal, obviously,” Huber said. “The girls didn’t seem to mind, although for the girls who weren’t on the field it was cold. All things considered, in lieu of the weather, we did some good things.”

Each team finished with nine shots on goal, though Stillwater did enjoy a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks.

Following a scoreless first half, Leah Nitardy scored on a penalty kick after a handball in the 43rd minute to provide a 1-0 lead.

“I think we controlled more of the game, even though the shots were close,” Huber said. “Their shots came in a few waves with three or four in a few minutes where ours were more spread out.”

It was a solid performance, even with several regulars sidelined by injuries.

“Generally speaking, the girls fought hard and battled hard,” Huber said. “I still think we had chances to finish and we need to finish, but considering the conditions it was great to battle back in overtime and get the win, too.”

Christina Bartingale finished with eight saves in goal for the Ponies.

 

Anoka 0 1 0 0 — 1

Stillwater 0 1 0 1 — 2

 

St — 43:00 — Leah Nitardy (penalty kick)

An — 76:00 — Kaitlin Beckman (unassisted)

St — 86:00 — Caroline Meier (Natalie Weidner)

 

Shots on goal — An: 9; St: 9.

Corner kicks — An: 1; St: 5.

Fouls — An: 8; St: 13.

Goalie saves — An: Katherine Verkuilen 7; St: Christina Bartingale 8.

 

Contact Stuart Groskreutz at stuart.groskreutz@ecm-inc.com

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