WHS GIRLS' SOCCER: Keodouangsy shoots WHS to winWORTHINGTON — The only thing that stopped the Trojans’ Alina Keodouangsy from making a first-half hat trick Saturday afternoon was the crossbar of the goal during a girls’ soccer game between Worthington and Willmar.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The only thing that stopped the Trojans’ Alina Keodouangsy from making a first-half hat trick Saturday afternoon was the crossbar of the goal during a girls’ soccer game between Worthington and Willmar.
The junior forward wasted little time in the second half completing the feat as the Trojans toppled the Cardinals, 5-1.
The win was Worthington’s first for the 2011 campaign and improves the squad’s season mark to 1-3.
“It was really exciting to play this well,” Keodouangsy said. “We wanted to come out and play better and we did that. We communicated well and made good passes. It feels good.”
Indeed, WHS played a complete game as the locals displayed good vision and patience on the pitch while applying pressure, offensively and defensively, to its opponent.
The Trojans pressured the Cardinals early and put the visitors behind quickly as WHS opened the game with ball and needed a mere 31 seconds to score the game’s first goal.
Junior midfielder Lydia Kemper scrambled to pick up a loose ball off a rebound of a shot attempt by Keodouangsy, who had received a nice feed from midfield by defender Valerie Cano.
Kemper snuck the rebounded loose ball past Cardinals’ goalkeeper Jordan Martins for a 1-0 lead, which the hosts never relinquished.
“The lesson we’ve learned from the last few games was that we can’t start out slow,” WHS head coach Smitty Ektnitphong stated. “(Saturday) we jumped out to lead and then kept applying pressure. That was a big part of the difference in the game than from our earlier games.”
For the next 20 minutes of the game (and for much of the first half), though, it was Willmar that was controlling the ball and keeping it on the WHS end of the field.
The Trojans, however, prevented any potential equalizers as the defense was tight near the goal and WHS netminder Alivia Rowley was quick to cover anything that got near her.
Senior captain Bernadette Boever led the defense in front of Rowley with numerous kicks down field throughout the game.
“Bernadette did a super job for us in the back,” Ektnitphong praised. “She took the pressure off of us many times with her clearing kicks.”
While much of the action was on the Trojans’ end with the score in favor of the hosts in the early goings, WHS got the ball to other end for some scoring opportunities as Monica Soukphilanavong had a shot sail over the net at the 30-minute mark and Keodouangsy was stonewalled by Martins with 21:40 to play in the first half.
However, that would be one of the last times Martins hindered Keodouangsy from finding the back of the net as the speedy forward put WHS up 2-0 just over two minutes later with a left-foot cross into the right corner of the Willmar net at the 19:17 mark.
The Cardinals later cut the lead in half as Shelby Schneider scored the visitors lone goal with 11:13 left in the first half as Rowley made a save on a shot by Baylie Young, but Schneider corralled the rebound and deposited the ball in the Trojans’ net.
“On their goal, we didn’t clear the ball away and they were able to score,” Ektnitphong said.
For the next several minutes of action, Willmar continued to pressure WHS but the defense remained stout while the Trojans made it 3-1 with 2:09 remaining in the first half.
Whitney Coriolan advanced a clearing kick upfield past the Cardinals’ defense into Keodouangsy attacking territory. The speedy forward allowed the ball to get past the defenders while she raced to ball and put in the net for two goal Trojans’ lead.
“We knew that they were going to try and play offside,” Keodouangsy said of the opposing defense. “I knew I could outrun them so it didn’t work so well for them.”
WHS nearly took a three goal lead into halftime as Castillo located Keodouangsy upfield but Keodouangsy’s scoring attempt banged off the crossbar as time expired.
Keodouangsy wouldn’t be denied for much longer after the break as she had a shot miss the net 90 seconds into the second half but was able to complete the feat as the Trojans received a penalty kick at the 37:35 mark.
On the penalty shot, Keodouangsy approached the ball slowly and used a swift kick into the right corner of the goal as WHS took a 4-1 lead.
Keodouangsy received several more opportunities to increase the Trojans’ lead as she received a break away attempt off of a booming goalie kick from Rowley at 35:05, which was stopped by the Martins, while Carrie Lovan fed Keodouangsy at 32:06 but the kick sailed over the goal.
“Alina has tremendous speed and is a great finisher,” the WHS coach said. “We did a good job as a team to get the ball forward to her quicker.
“Earlier in the year, the midfielders were holding on the ball too long and our timing was off. In this game, we were locating on the first touch and then moving it up on the second.”
WHS wrapped up the game’s scoring with 27:06 remaining in the game as Keodouangsy put the finishing touches on a outstanding effort as she once again raced past defenders to get to the ball.
As Keodouangsy picked the ball, Martins came out to contest her but the junior forward dribbled the ball past her and tapped in an easy goal to make it 5-1.
“We are glad to get the win,” Ektnitphong exclaimed. “The girls earned this victory. They did a good job the whole game.
“If we can continue to improve and play like we did (Saturday) all the time, we are going to be really good team by the end of the season.”
The Trojans return to action tonight at 7 p.m in Albert Lea.
Willmar 1 0 — 1
WHS 3 2 — 5