Girls soccer: Sluggish first half dooms WHS against New Prague
WORTHINGTON — Looking out onto Trojan Field during the first half of Tuesday’s girls varsity soccer match, it was hard not to feel a little sympathy for the New Prague goalkeeper.
Standing hands on hips and motionless throughout much of the half, she was the loneliest person on the field.
New Prague spent almost an entire half on one side of the field — Worthington’s side — en route to outscoring its hosts 5-0 before intermission. WHS found its spark in the second half, providing the New Prague goalkeeper plenty of company. But New Prague managed to win the match, 6-1.
Worthington’s first half lethargy was a head-scratcher for head coach Emily Ahlquist.
“We struggle coming out strong, and that’s how we’ve been all year so far. We start out really sloppy,” Ahlquist said. “Maybe I have to change my warm-up a little bit — a more intense warm-up.”
The off-again, on-again Trojans — who are winless with one tie so far this season — played in Ahlquist’s estimation their best match of the season on Saturday in a 2-1 loss to Austin. Both of Austin’s goals were scored on bobbled balls. But New Prague — also nicknamed the Trojans — needed no such luck to get off to its 5-0 start in the first half Tuesday.
The visitors’ first goal came off a centering pass near the left side of the WHS net with 33:52 remaining in the half, on a short kick. The next goal came less than two minutes later. The third came with 28:07 remaining on a high arching kick from the middle of the field more than 25 yards away.
Goal No. 4 occurred at the 4:22 mark on a low, sharp kick from the middle of the field into the left corner from about 18 yards out. And No. 5 came at 1:40 in a scramble for a loose ball about eight yards in front of Worthington goalkeeper Ahmitara Alwal.
The New Prague goalie touched only one ball in the first half, Ahlquist pointed out, and that came within the last minute of the first half.
After intermission, Worthington sprung to life, and as much action could be seen near New Prague’s goalkeeper as near the home team’s. WHS notched the first goal of the second half with 30:15 on the clock on an odd play that began about 25 yards in front of the net.
Jessica Alvarez, a junior, booted the ball in a low arch that bounced off a pair of defenders struggling for control. The ball, rather than being diverted another direction, maintained its direction toward the goal, and in.
Worthington energized the crowd again about 10 minutes later when Anita Castillo picked up a loose ball and outraced a New Prague defender toward the net, shaking her rival long enough to attempt a shot. It was no good. But Castillo managed to get another shot off less than a minute later amid a cluster of players.
New Prague scored the game’s final goal with 8:07 remaining on a short kick in front of Alwal.
After the game, Ahlquist praised the performance of Alvarez and Castillo, and also Monica Duron, who hustled hard to the ball, put a lot of balls in play for the forwards, and provided good support for them.
But for the team, generally, she said it will need to have better communication in the first halves of games.
New Prague 5 1 — 6
Worthington 0 1 — 1