Swapping volleyball for girls' soccer, Ashlyn Nystuen's new role as the Wingers' goalkeeper is similar to her role on the court: Keep the ball alive.
In volleyball, that meant keeping the ball off the floor. Now, it's about keeping the ball out of the net.
"It's taken a lot of support from my teammates," Nystuen said. "It's been a big change from volleyball, but it's been a good change. Just like volleyball, I still have to dive for the ball."
On Thursday night against Austin, Nystuen made 16 saves and gave up just one goal when the Packers' Isabel Leuer recovered the ball on a Nystuen save and got the ball through on the second attempt two minutes into the second half.
"I saw her take a touch far out, but I hesitated too much, which gave her more time to set up," Nystuen said. "She was able to hit to the side of me and it went in."
Combined with Monday's 3-0 win against Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa, Nystuen gave up just one goal over two games with 19 saves. The sport is new, but it's one that the Red Wing junior has been quick to pick up on.
"She was a great free agency pick-up," Red Wing head soccer coach David Thurston said with a laugh. "She showed up this year and I'm like, 'Oh, OK, what do you play?' She said, 'I play 'keep.' We tried it and I'm like, 'Yes, you're the 'keep.' She's vocal back there and makes good decisions."
With Austin controlling things in their offensive end for the first 55 minutes of the game, the Wingers were able to ratchet up the offensive intensity in the second half as they put up eight second-half shots compared to one in the first half. The only thing missing was that game-tying goal.
"It took us about 50 minutes to wake up so we had 30 minutes to make things up," Thurston said. "We had some injured players and moved people around and I was very proud of their effort in the second half. These girls always stick to it and never give up. Now we have to find a way to do that from the first drop in the first half."
Red Wing (1-5, 0-5 Big Nine) has three games next week: at Byron Monday, at home Tuesday against Albert Lea and away Thursday at Faribault.
Red Wing 3, PIZM 0
A scoreless game at halftime, Red Wing put three goals in net during the second half to run away from Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa, 3-0, on Monday.
Ella Sutherland, Cadence Thorson and Laney Hewes all scored for the Wingers, with Ashlyn Nystuen made three saves.
PIZM goalie Roslind Anderson stopped 10 of 13 shots on goal.