Last Friday and Saturday the Warriors participated in the Tournament of Champions in Burlington, Iowa. They faced top-tier competition, including the defending State Champs of Iowa. While the results didn't show it, anyone who watched the games could tell you the Warriors could, and should have, won all of their matches. While the competition was a much higher level, it still left a bitter aftertaste to lose three games in a row. The girls set out to remedy that in tonight's Badger Conference matchup against the Vikings of Mount Horeb.
The whistle blew, the ball was kicked off, and the Warriors wasted no time. They quickly gained possession of the ball and started passing around the Vikings. This possession would rewarded in the 7th minute with a pass from Samantha Duhr to Grace Lujan, who placed her shot to the far post. Lujan's goal opened the scoring for the night, and the Warriors were off to an early 1-0 lead. The heavy possession by the Warriors continued, and after a deflected shot, they earned a corner. Macie Maulbetsch ran over to take the corner, and Jada Dayne came up from the defense to use her height to pose another threat the Vikings had to deal with. The ball was lofted perfectly to the 6 yard line, and center midfielder Olivia Zaleski rose to direct the ball towards the net. The keeper got a hand to it, but it wasn't enough to keep it out. This was Zaleski's second header goal this year on a cross from a corner.
Emily Mouille continued her domination of opponent's defensive lines, and created many opportunities for the Warriors. She was able to get crosses off, and a couple shots on goal. The buildup was superb, but unfortunately the shots ended just wide or just over the goal. On one attempt she beat her defender, and headed towards the goal for a 1 on 1 with the keeper. When the keeper came out she tried to do a cut back around, but ended in a collision with the keeper. The referee decided their was no foul, and play continued on.
The first half continued mostly in the Warriors' favor. The defense put on a dominating display, only giving up 1 shot in the first half. Defensive starters Alex Ziegler, Erin Freeman, and Jada Dayne continue show they are some of the best defenders in the state. The Warriors have a very strong defensive bench, and when Maddie Lange and Jordan Haag subbed in they showed they are just as dominating. Katlyn Hochstein provided relief for the hard working center midfielders, and is continuing to improve as she transitions from an outside to central midfielder role.
The Warriors ended the first half with a 2-0 lead. While Coach Torres and the girls were generally pleased with their play, they still talked about some areas for improvement. Objectives for the second half were to improve the communication, and to spread the field out better, so passing would become easier.
The second half whistle blew and the last 40 minutes started. Neither side was able to gain much possession, and there was a lot of 'kick ball'. Even though it wasn't their normal style of play, the Warriors still generated more opportunities than the Vikings. Mouille was finally rewarded for her hard work in the 60th minute. Dayne played a ball from deep in the defense up the right sideline. Mouille chased down the ball, beat one defender with her speed, and then pulled a cut back on another defender to open up her shot on goal. She maintained her poise and calmly buried the ball in the back of the net for the third goal of the game.
With a 3-0 lead, Coach Torres was able to sub freely and get players playing time and experience. Abby Shoepp and Ashleigh Johnson took over the outside midfield positions, and Danielle Smith, Katya Statz, and Amanda Majerus subbed in for the forwards. Katlyn Hochstein also came back in the center midfield. These girls played very well, and were able to put together some attacks on goal. They also completed a quick field switch from the left defender through Hochstein, all the way to Shoepp at right midfield, which looked very impressive, and resulted in a good run at the goal.
The Warriors finished 3-0 over the Mount Horeb Vikings to improve to 7-5-0, and 2-0 in conference. They continue Badger Conference play on Thursday the 8th against the Milton Red Hawks. Come support the girls at 7pm for another exciting game.