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Red Wing defender Stacey Rother (18) fights off an Albert Lea player for possession of the ball during Saturday’s season-opener at Red Wing High School.

Girls Soccer: New building blocks for Wingers

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Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

With two weeks of practice and a game under their belt, Red Wing girls have an idea of what to work on. 

With co-head soccer coaches Paul McNamee and David Thurston, the Wingers showed some promise in the first half Saturday when they were tied 1-1 with visiting Albert Lea. 

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Ultimately, the Tigers got rolling with three goals in the first six minutes of the second half, setting off a six-goal second half for Albert Lea in a 7-1 victory.

Ultimately, things worked against Red Wing on Saturday.

“It was a game of two halves,” Thurston said.

McNamee added, “It was a combination of us running out of gas and Albert Lea having a lot of luck. On a couple of those goals, the wind took it and made those shots unsaveable.”

The Wingers faced Byron at home on Tuesday and is slated to face Winona Cotter on Sept. 3. Red Wing opens the Missota Conference season on Sept. 12 at Shakopee.

Saturday’s debut was a little rocky, but the Wingers’ coaches are still encouraged by what the girls have shown on the field both in practice and game time.

“We’re still so impressed with the talent and skill we have on this team,” McNamee said. “Everything we asked for in the second half, we got from them.”

There is plenty of room to grow for the Wingers, who went 5-12 last year, as the team brings back just two seniors (defenders Maddie Erie and Stacey Rother) and three juniors (Serena Scanlon, Izzy DiNatalie and Kennedy Kerrins). 

Even with a sophomore-heavy lineup, the players have been very eager in practice and putting in a strong effort against Albert Lea.

“Once we got started, Paul and I, everyone was very upbeat,” Thurston said. “We’re young, but we have a lot of talent.”

Against the Tigers on Saturday, Red Wing’s lone goal came at the 23rd minute on a shot by Nadine Marty. Offense could remain shaky for the offense as the Wingers wait for sophomore Maddie Hardyman to return. 

“Maddie’s looking to break the school record for goals early this season,” McNamee said. “With a few others dinged up right now, we have injured firepower.”

Scanlon took goalkeeping duties in Saturday’s game, putting in a solid effort until Albert Lea’s second-half surge. A current concern for the Wingers is the goalkeeping depth behind Scanlon.

“Our second-string keeper is injured, so we have to keep our third-stringer healthy,” McNamee said. “We asked Serena to make a lot of saves (on Saturday).”

Since Thurston and McNamee became the head coaches just before the season began, the two were in sync on how to run the team. Now with two weeks under their belt, they have a better idea on what to work with and how to get the most out of the players. 

The focus now is to divide and conquer.

“We’ll need to specialize everyone,” McNamee said. “We’re dividing the field into thirds so we can get everyone to focus.”

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