Having a chance to medal is right where the Muskie girls' soccer team wanted to be over the weekend.
They fell just short of that goal, falling 2-0 to the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints in the bronze-medal game of the Broncos Challenge Cup tournament on Saturday afternoon in Kenora, but Muskie head coach Sara Roach was still happy with the effort her squad put forth.
“I am very pleased. It would have been nice to finish higher but I think by the end of the tournament, the girls were tired,” she remarked.
“They played a lot of soccer. But overall, they played very well and I was proud of them.”
The Muskies compiled a 1-3 record at the tourney en route to their fourth-place showing.
Fort High opened play early on Friday afternoon with a 1-0 loss to the Miles Mac Buckeyes but rebounded later in the day with a narrow 2-1 win over Portage in penalty kicks.
The Muskies needed seven shooters to pull out the victory while Montana Plasky netted the squad's lone goal in regulation time.
“It was a close first game, we lost 1-0 but I think the girls had possession of the ball 80 percent of the time,” Roach recalled.
“We just couldn't find the back of the net. The second game went into penalty kicks and we won in seven shooters.”
That extra-time win vaulted the black-and-gold into the semi-finals on Saturday afternoon where they were defeated by the River East Kodiaks.
The Muskies then ended tourney play with the bronze-medal game loss to the Saints later that day.
“[Our] third game was against a strong Winnipeg team [the Kodiaks]. They play a good strong game of soccer,” said Roach.
“The girls played well against them but they were able to score and we weren't,” she conceded.
“The last game was 2-0 for T.A. and, again, I think the girls were just tired and ran out of steam by the end of it.”
In NorWOSSA action the previous Wednesday (May 8) here, the Muskies (1-0-1) collected their first win of the season in the morning opener with a back-and-forth 3-2 decision over the Dryden Eagles (0-1-1).
Plasky scored her first of two goals in the contest early in the first half as she took a feed through the middle and roofed a shot over the Eagles' keeper from in close.
But Dryden struck back on some porous defence by the Muskies and used their speed to strike on partial breakaways shortly apart to forge ahead 2-1.
But Plasky drew Fort High level before halftime when she fired a gorgeous strike high over the Dryden defence and over the outstretched hands of the keeper to knot it at 2-2.
Kathryn Fischer then buried her first of the season in the second half to help the Muskies pull out their first win of the season.
Jersey Masson and Jamie Spencer shared the win between the pipes.
The Muskies followed that up by battling to a hard fought 1-1 draw with the Kenora Broncos (0-0-2).
Tatum Glowasky netted the squad's lone marker in the second half while Masson and Spencer again shared the keeper duties.
“Going back to their fundamentals, good quick passes to feet, and moving the ball into open space, good communication, and just having the right mentality,” is what Roach cited as the main factors to the Muskies' success in last week's opening NorWOSSA games.
“I think our team is very focused on the game and it's showing in the way that they play.”
The Muskies were slated to resume NorWOSSA action today against the host Eagles and Broncos, with the outcomes not known as of press time.
Roach noted that her squad would be continuing to work on anticipating where the ball is going to played and also on being quick to defend.
“We've been working on offensive plays in the attacking third of the field,” she revealed.
“Just taking each game as it comes,” is what she felt would lead the black-and-gold to success today.
"I think the more games they play, the more they come together as a team.
“[We] can't get too excited during the league games, the only game that matters is the final NorWOSSa game," she stressed. "Anything can happen.”
The NorWOSSA regular-season finale is set for next Wednesday (May 22) in Kenora.
The playoffs then will go on May 29 in Dryden, with OFSAA to follow on June 6-8 in Belle River.