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Lake City girls soccer downed by slow start

Lake City senior forward Anna Johnson fights for possession of the ball Monday in Lake City.

The Lake City girls soccer team played sluggish in the first half and fell to Plainview-Elgin-Millville Monday 3-0.

The Tigers struggled to find rhythm in the first 30 minutes of the first half and gave up two goals to the Bulldogs before halftime. The first came on a corner kick Lake City failed to clear and P-E-M got three shots off before finally scoring. The second goal came with 15 minutes, 10 seconds left in the half on a through ball the Bulldogs put by the keeper.

"We gave them too many opportunities on the offensive side," Lake City coach Mark Spence said. "(Our girls) were on their heels ... we've had trouble starting halves and getting that energy level right away."

Lake City (1-7, 0-4 HVL) came out in the second half with more hustle and put pressure on the P-E-M defense. Tigers senior midfielder Gabby Harteneck started the second half with a shot on goal but the Bulldogs' goalie Kristi Schurhamer made the save.

Lake City continued getting scoring chances but a counter-attack by the Bulldogs in the 18th minute of the second half caught the Tigers vulnerable, leading to the third and final goal. P-E-M's Ally Wolf scored after two saves by Lake City senior goalie Katie Eichhorn were not cleared.

"We need to work on clearing that ball," Spence said. "Not be too cute with it."

Tigers senior forward Kaylee Becker put a nifty move on a Bulldog defender and fired a nice shot on goal with less than four minutes left in the second half but P-E-M's keeper Schurhamer maintained the shutout. The added pressure Lake City put on the Bulldogs was too little, too late.

"The first half we could have played a lot better," Becker said. "In the second half ... we wanted it. The difference between winning and losing is wanting it."

Becker said adjusting the team's strategy from two to three forwards in the second half was a big reason why they had more scoring chances. It gave them more confidence and she said she was more aggressive in that formation.

While the Bulldogs controlled possession for much of the match, Spence saw positives in his team's performance and plenty of areas his team can improve this week in practice.

"We need to work on knowing what we want to do with the ball right away," Spence said. "We need to be decisive ... one little mistake here and there is going to hurt you.

"We let up a couple unfortunate goals but that's the breaks."

The Tigers also plan to work on scoring more goals. Spence said that if the girls can find a way to score first in their next game, it might allow them to relax and give them more confidence going forward.

"We're going to work on being a little bit more offensive (in practice)," Spence said. "The second half was outstanding. I saw a lot of good passing sequences and things we can build on that will help down the road."

The Tigers play again Thursday at home against Stewartville.

Chris Harrell
Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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