Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Muskie girls sit in first

If ties are like kissing one’s sister, there was plenty of sibling love being shown Monday at the Struchan Gilson Memorial soccer field.
Then the Muskie girls’ soccer team balled up its collective fist and laid a smack of a different kind on the lips of the Dryden Eagles.

Claire Hyatt and Maggie Jean provided the goals, and Elizabeth Allan recorded the shutout, as the Muskies (1-0-1) grabbed first place in the NorWOSSA standings with a 2-0 win over Dryden (0-1-1) on the opening day of the regular season.
Allan provided the boost the home squad needed only six minutes into the game with a big-time stop on an Eagles’ penalty kick after Abbi Perreault was cited for a hand ball in the Muskies’ 18-yard box.
When Dryden returned the favour with an identical penalty in the 12th minute, Hyatt accepted the gift gleefully and hammered the ball to the top right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles showed some offensive promise but the Muskie defence slowly pushed them farther and farther away from Fort High’s end as the game progressed.
Then in the 54th minute, Janelle Kaemingh spotted Maggie Jean close by the Dryden net and feathered a pass that Jean quickly deposited in the back of the goal.
The Muskies, despite losing one of their top defenders in Perreault to an ankle injury in the first half, slammed the door shut the rest of the way.
In the morning game against the defending champion Kenora Broncos (0-0-2), Fort High overcame a first-half deficit and rallied for a 1-1 draw.
“I think we had possession of the ball for 85-90 percent of the game,” noted Muskie head coach Alyssa Holliday.
“We’ve got to work on taking more shots on net.
“We do need to pressure the opposition goalie more and do more smart passing,” she added.
“In conditions like this, you have to keep the ball low on the grass.”
Hannah Rose, a key Broncos’ midfielder, made it 1-0 midway through the first half with a blast from just outside the 18-yard box that eluded Muskie keeper Amy Penner.
But the Muskies kept pressing and it paid off with less than 10 minutes to go.
With Rose forced to the bench with an injury, the Broncos looked unsteady trying to protect the lead and eventually let Angela Cole shake loose to smash the ball behind Kenora keeper Tyra White to earn the single point.
“It was a nice shot by Angela just inside the 18-yard box after a good cross from Maryam Seid, and she put it right in the back of the net,” lauded Holliday.
“It’s nice to see play like that from our forwards.”
Kenora went on to tie Dryden 1-1 in their second game of the day, leaving the Muskies alone in first place.
Poor weather had prevented the Muskies from getting in much of a pre-season test, with two tournaments having to be cancelled.
But the Muskies finally got some exhibition action under their belts in Thunder Bay on the weekend with a 2-0 defeat of the Thunder Bay Chill 16U team and a 3-0 loss to the St. Patrick’s Saints.
Katie Sinclair and Seid scored against the Chill while Allan played the entire weekend in goal with Penner away at a hockey tournament.
“[Allan] was a little nervous against St. Pat’s and gave up those three goals all in the first half,” noted Holliday.
“But then she made one big save and after that, she was amazing and saved everything coming at her.”
The Saints supplied a difficult challenge—understandable considering eight members of the team play for the 18U Chill girls’ team along with Hyatt.
“They were a force out there,” Holliday said of the Saints.
“Every touch of the ball was with the intention it was going somewhere.
“But the girls held up well,” she added. “We had our opportunities in the second half but they had a great goalie.”
The Muskies’ trip to Kenora today for two more NorWOSSA games against the Broncos and Eagles was postponed until May 23 due to the weather.
NorWOSSA play now is set to resume next Wednesday (May 21) in Dryden.

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