WOODBURY — A lack of scoring punch plagued Stillwater again on Tuesday while falling to East Ridge 1-0 in a Suburban East Conference girls’ soccer game.
The Ponies (2-4 SEC, 6-6), who dropped to 2-5 in games decided by one goal this season, played a stronger second half but were shut out for the second consecutive game in conference play.
Another unfortunate trend for Stillwater continued after East Ridge struck for its lone goal in the fourth minute of the game — a direct free kick by Jaden Vogelgesang from 30 yards out.
“That’s what we’ve struggled with early in the game,” Ponies coach Mike Huber said. “When I look back on the whole season, two-thirds (of our goals allowed) have been during the first or last five minutes of a half or five minutes after a goal is scored. That first five minutes is a killer to give that goal up that early.”
Stillwater held a 7-5 advantage in shots on goal, but more of its better scoring chances came in the second half and most of those came off corner kicks. The Ponies were unable to capitalize on at least three strong scoring chances that occurred after corner kicks.
“We played well enough to pull out a win,” Huber said. “Generally speaking, they controlled more of the play the first half, but we had a lot more control of the play in the second half. We played well enough to win, but the bottom line is we need to finish.
“We let three balls hit the ground in the six-yard box (on corner kicks) and by the time it bounces they have someone who clears it or knocks it out. We had some decent opportunities, but we just didn’t finish. We probably had three great opportunities where if any player had gotten a piece of it we would have scored. It was a lot of missed opportunities.”
Stillwater 0 0 — 0
East Ridge 1 0 — 1
ER — 4:00 — Jaden Vogelgesang (direct free kick)
Shots on goal — St: 7; ER: 5.
Corner kicks — St: 7; ER: 6.
Fouls — St: 4; ER: 6.
Goalie saves — St: Christina Bartingale 4; ER: NA — 7.
Burnsville 5, Stillwater 2
At Burnsville, pity the spectator who chose the wrong time to grab a hot dog or use the restroom during Saturday night’s girls’ soccer game at Burnsville High School.
Burnsville and Stillwater combined to score five goals during a three-minute stretch early in the second half of an eventual 5-2 nonconference victory for the undefeated Blaze (10-0-1), who are ranked third in the state coaches poll.
“I have never seen three goals in three minutes, much less five goals,” Ponies coach Mike Huber said. “It was kind of unbelievable.”
After pulling within 2-1 on a goal by Ali Schilling in the third minute of the second half, the Blaze scored twice in the fourth minute to surge front 4-1. Jaime Purdie answered for the Ponies a minute later to quiet Burnsville momentarily, but the Blaze struck again when Hannah Kiersten scored in the sixth minute for a 5-2 lead.
“It was one of the more bizarre games I’ve ever coached,” said Huber, in his second season with the Ponies and 16th overall coaching high school soccer. “After we scored to make it 2-1, it happened so quick, almost like we didn’t see it coming. Even after going down 2-0, we scored a goal and we think we’re back in it, but then it’s 4-1. We got another goal, but then not more than a minute later they get another one.”
“I told the girls (former Ponies hall of fame coach Phil Johnson) always referred to the first five minutes and the last five minutes of each half and five minutes after a goal as twilight. All of their goals were scored in that time frame. We just have to be more focused throughout the game, especially in those five-minute frames, we have to be more focused.”
Rachel Glenna assisted on Schilling’s tally, setting her up on a mini-breakaway before she drilled a shot into the corner from 18 yards out. Purdie’s goal also came on a strong shot from the perimeter as she fired a shot from 30 yards out that deflected off the crossbar and into the net.
Burnsville took advantage of some miscues by Stillwater in the back, where they have been ravaged by injuries and, now, inexperience.
“Their first goal was kind of a fluke and unfortunately that set the tone a little bit,” Huber said. “After we scored we felt like we were back in it, but not more than a minute later they scored a goal that we sort of fell asleep on. Both their third and fourth goals were mental lapses.
“I think our overall inexperience in the back was a factor. It’s nothing against the girls that played there, but most haven’t played there and we were playing one of the best teams in the state so you have to be solid and strong in the back.”
Burnsville held a 10-9 advantage in shots on goal, but created a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks.
Stillwater 0 2 — 2
Burnsville 2 3 — 5
Bur — 6:00 — Anna Lehmen
Bur — 14:00 — Hannah Mitby
St — 43:00 — Ali Schilling (Rachel Glenna)
Bur — 44:00 — Amanda Hartman
Bur — 44:00 — Ashley St. Aubin
St — 45:00 — Jaime Purdie (unassisted)
Bur — 46:00 — Hannah Keirstead
Shots on goal — St: 9; Bur: 10.
Corner kicks — St: 0; Bur: 5.
Fouls — St: 4; Bur: 6.
Goalie saves — St: Megan Holthaus 4 and Christina Bartingale 1; Bur: NA 7