TROJAN GIRLS' SOCCER: Trojans fall to BluejaysWORTHINGTON – In the final regular season contest for the Worthington girls’ soccer team, the Trojans fell to the Waseca Bluejays by a score of 4-1 at Trojan Field Tuesday night.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON – In the final regular season contest for the Worthington girls’ soccer team, the Trojans fell to the Waseca Bluejays by a score of 4-1 at Trojan Field Tuesday night.
The visiting Bluejays rode the legs of striker Brittany Miller, who scored all four of her team’s goals including netting a hat trick in the first 8:05 of the game.
“The first 10 minutes was really rough,” Trojan head coach Emily Ahlquist said. “We just weren’t prepared for how they came out. No. 12 (Miller) was a really good shot and she placed some really nice balls.”
Miller displayed her strong leg early as she rifled a right-footed kick from atop the box into the upper-right hand corner of the goal to give Waseca a 1-0 lead in the game’s second minute.
“She’s got a strong leg and she’s willing to take the shot right away instead of playing around with it,” Ahlquist said of Miller’s effort. “A lot of girls wait for that perfect opportunity and you’re never going to get that perfect opportunity, you just have to turn and shoot. That’s what she was able to do and it threw our defense off-guard.”
The junior striker extended the Bluejay lead in the third minute, as Miller received a lob from upfield and raced past the WHS defense. When Trojan keeper Alivia Rowley came out to contest the ball, the Waseca attacker tapped the ball past Rowley into the goal for an early 2-0 lead.
The Bluejay assault on the WHS goal continued over the next several minutes and Miller garnered the hat trick in the ninth minute when she stole the ball from a pair of Trojans in the box and quickly kicked it past Rowley from short range to make it 3-0.
“Alivia (Rowley) made good dives, but they were just out of her reach,” Ahlquist said. “So the first 10 minutes we had a hard time, but we pulled it together and played the rest of the game strong.”
Rowley (eight saves) kept the Bluejays from extending the lead any further in the opening half, but the visitors also prevented the Trojans from spending much time on the attack. Waseca limited WHS to one first-half shot, while attempting five of its own.
However, the Trojans came out of the intermission and tilted the pitch in their favor.
Senior forward Monica Soukphilanavong put a shot on Bluejay keeper Bailey Wolff (eight saves) that was stopped in the opening minute of the second half, but that shot set the tone for a WHS team that outshot the visitors by an 8-7 margin in the final 40 minutes.
Whitney Coriolan displayed good presence from her midfield position by distributing the ball upfield to the Trojan forwards as the hosts continually pushed the ball towards the Bluejay box for chances.
WHS strikers, Alina Keoduangsy and Ana Castillo, combined to place several nice looking shots on the Bluejay goal throughout the final frame, but most of the shots sailed just wide of the mark.
“I’m pretty pleased with how we played,” Keoduangsy said. “We had a rough first 10 minutes, but then we changed how we played after that and got back to playing our game.”
However, it wasn’t until after Miller netted her fourth goal with 17:24 left in the game that the Trojans broke through to prevent the shutout.
With just over five minutes of time left in the contest, Nyamunkel Gew controlled the ball near midfield and displayed superb ball control to keep the Bluejays from taking possession before threading a pass up to Keoduangsy, who was positioned just outside the Waseca box.
Keoduangsy quickly saw an opening on the left side of the Bluejay goal and kicked a low shot that got past a diving Wolff to cut the deficit to 4-1 with 5:15 left.
“Once you have the ball, you can’t really play with it because you just have to set it for yourself and shoot,” Keoduangsy said of her goal. “I just placed it and shot. It feels good to not let them get a shutout.”
WHS was unable cut any further into the Waseca lead, but Ahlquist was pleased with how her club responded to finish the game strong.
“In the second half, we did have more shots and we were able to get a lot of chances,” the WHS coach said. “But we just weren’t able to finish them. It’s disappointing to see so many opportunities and to miss them, but the girls played well and I’m proud of them. We can keep our heads up after this game.”
WHS finishes the regular season with a record of 2-10-1. The Trojans will learn Friday of their seed and their opponent for the upcoming Section 2A playoffs.
Waseca 3 1 – 4
WHS 0 1 – 1