Trojans score six second-half goals in victory

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington girls' soccer team is becoming an offensive juggernaut late in the season. After scoring five goals in Thursday's victory against Fairmont, the Trojans looked sluggish in the first half Friday against Sioux Falls Ch...

Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe Worthington's Nicole Ektnitphong makes a pass in front of a Sioux Falls Christian defender during the first half of Friday's girls' soccer match in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington girls' soccer team is becoming an offensive juggernaut late in the season.

After scoring five goals in Thursday's victory against Fairmont, the Trojans looked sluggish in the first half Friday against Sioux Falls Christian.

"In the first half, we came out and we didn't do what we were supposed to do," Worthington forward Nicole Ektnitphong said. "We got directions from our coach at halftime. We knew what we were supposed to do, we just weren't executing out there, so it was really disappointing."

As uninspired as the Trojans played in the first half, the difference in the second period was like night and day.

Worthington scored six goals in the second half en route to a 6-2 victory against the Chargers.


"All of our girls have really good potential," Ektnitphong said. "In the first half, it felt like nobody wanted to score at all. In the second half, we started bringing up girls and everyone started pushing up and getting really aggressive towards the net."

In the past two games, Worthington has scored 11 goals -- 10 of those in the second half.

SFC's Katherine Kirby scored 10 minutes into the game, as the Chargers had a 1-0 lead with 30 minutes remaining until halftime.

"We started really slow in both halves," SFC coach Dean Born said. "Especially in the first half, we did not come out very well. I thought we played pretty well in the last 20 minutes of the first half, and it was 1-0 at half. We were happy with that result."

Neither team scored again in the half, as Worthington trailed 1-0 at the break -- prompting an inspirational speech from Trojan coach Smitty Ektnitphong.

"I told them that I was disappointed that we put ourselves in that situation in the first half," Ektnitphong said. "We did well yesterday, and coming back here, I told them that you can't step on the field and expect it to come back; you still have to work for it."

Out of the break, Worthington started to concentrate more on the first touch, and it paid dividends immediately.

"(Coach) said that we need a better first touch and get control of the ball, which is his pet peeve," Nicole Ektnitphong said. "Every time we get it, it would bounce right back to the blue. We were just giving it to them."


The Trojans didn't give anything to the Chargers in the early going of the second half.

Worthington had a pair of good looks early on, but it took 12 minutes before the Trojans found the back of the net.

Off a corner kick, Trojan Svenja Wieser was able to get a good kick on the ball and scored -- tying the game at 1-all.

Less than 30 seconds later, Worthington took the lead.

Gabby Boever advanced the ball up the field, and Nicole Ektnitphong was able to slide the ball past the goalie to give Worthington a 2-1 advantage.

"Gabby kicked it and I was running after it and I saw the defender, and I was like, 'I have to get to it,"' Ektnitphong said. "I started running towards it, and I saw the corner and passed it in there."

SFC answered with a goal less than two minutes later to knot the score at 2-all. After another 20 seconds passed, Nicole Ektnitphong had the ball on a breakaway and was able to convert for her second goal of the night, giving Worthington a 3-2 lead.

"People came here expecting a good show, and we didn't deliver (in the first half)," Smitty Ektnitphong said "We kept hurting ourselves, and I think they realized what they could do."


After the teams combined for four goals in less than three minutes, the scoring calmed until the 10-minute mark.

Rachel Malmgren, who scored three goals the previous game, scored her first goal.

Ektnitphong had the ball on the left side, and with three defenders closing in, slid the ball to Malmgren in the open. Malmgren didn't miss and gave Worthington a 4-2 lead.

"I saw three girls chasing after me and I saw Rachel trailing in, so I passed it in to her," Ektnitphong said. "It was just like we practice every day, and she just one-touched it into the net."

After Ektnitphong had scored two goals, the defense was keying on her late in the game.

"The whole defense was sucked in to gang up on Nicole," Smitty Ektnitphong said. "She passed it to Rachel and the goalie didn't know what hit her. It was really beautiful. We practice that a lot and it worked the way we wanted to."

That wouldn't be the end of Malmgren's scoring. Four minutes later, she once again found the net, giving the Trojans a 5-2 lead with six minutes remaining.

"I thought we might get two goals," Smitty Ektnitphong said. "Defensively, they played well. This is a team that we needed to play against because they controlled the ball well. In the second half, we just outhustled them."


As the game was winding down, the Trojans put an exclamation point on the victory.

Cassie Landgaard scored off a corner kick for her first career goal.

"At first I didn't think it was coming to me, but it felt good," Landgaard said. "I've been trying to get it all year. Smitty's been setting me up for it, and I just never could get it."

Worthington will play today at home against New Ulm before beginning section play next week.

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