Girls Soccer: Wingers pick up first Big 9 win
It took 18 seconds for Red Wing to get off its first shot. More than 23 minutes passed before the Wingers found the back of the net, but that was a mere formality in what ended up being a 3-0 Big Nine Conference victory over Winona, Red Wing’s first-ever league win.
Marissa Fitzsimmons broke the scoreless tie 23 minutes, 23 seconds into the first half when lofted what was to be a crossing pass over the head of the Winhawk goalie. The ball squeezed in past the post, giving Red Wing the only goal it would need.
The Wingers, who had 17 shots in the first half, dominated play throughout the first 40 minutes, but were able to come away with just the one tally.
“We were playing better than a 1-0 game,” said Red Wing head coach David Thurston. “But we got a couple goals off our JV players we pulled up to play some varsity, so it was a good decision to pull them up. (The) varsity was strong, a lot of good passing. Overall, I’m very pleased with the performance.”
The two JV girls that scored, Mackenzie Hughes (12:57 of the second half) and Gabby Magill (2:13), were able to capitalize on chances with the ball careening off players right in front of the Winona net. Those chances were thanks in large part to an attack plan that necessitated an outside presence due to Winona’s defensive collapse into the box.
“That was our plan, to get (the ball) to our outside backs and pass to our outside mid(fielders) and start doing crosses in,” Thurston said.
Maddie Hardyman had the initial shot on goal, and several others that had a good chance of going in. Winona goalie Hope Enright made a couple of great saves on Hardyman, but there were also a couple of shots, including a cross that Hardyman unbelievably put over the cross bar from point-blank range.
“She had a couple right there that we don’t know how they didn’t go in,” Thurston said. “But you know, it was a good game by everybody. It was nice to see that performance.”
The three goals were good production from the Wingers, but given the sheer number of scoring chances, the total could have been much higher. Yet, Red Wing never let off the gas pedal, overwhelming the Winhawks until the final whistle.
“That’s one thing we’re working on this season,” Thurstson said. “We only lost two seniors from last year. We have a young team still this year with only two seniors, however they’re experienced. A lot of these girls have been playing varsity for three or four years, so they’re coming of age. They’re getting older and they know more than the basic skills. They’re learning tactics. And that’s one of our goals this year is to play a complete game and hustle 100 percent of the time.”
The Wingers (1-1) will have a few days off from competition with Tuesday’s game at Faribault the next on the ledger.