Coming off an up-and-down winter season that saw the Shattuck-St. Mary’s U16 girls soccer team record 6 wins, 5 losses and a draw since the start of 2016, the Sabres were hoping to get their Spring Midwest Regional League (MRL) season off to a good start. Standing in their way was longtime rival Dakota Rev SC, a foe that Shattuck had played three times already since the start of the fall season, recording a 1-1-1 record against and having an even goal differential in the three games.
Wednesday night’s game was no different, as the 16s were locked in a tight battle for 80 minutes. The first half saw an even mix of chances and possession for each side. “Both sides looked nervous and somewhat disjointed in their attacking third,” said Head Coach Sue Vodicka. "For us, it was a matter of calming down, reading the game with more clearness, and having a few better ideas off the ball than just running forward."
In the second half, Vodicka’s message paid off in the 65th minute when freshman Nina LeFlore one-timed a left-footed shot past the Rev SC goalkeeper from a Halie Reznik cross. “The goal was really special, because it came from a lot of the things we have been working on as individuals during the winter,” said Vodicka. “Halie has been working on playing that same ball a lot lately, and Nina has been working to improve her left-footed finishing. Both skill sets showed up on the goal, which as a coach is great to see. Additionally, we were able to free Halie up for that cross because of some intelligent midfield movement from Ella [Beuning], again…something we have been spending a lot of time on in training.” Junior Katie Commins played the full 80 minutes in goal for the shutout.
Only three days later, the Sabre ladies welcomed Tonka United to the Dane Family Sports Complex for their second MRL game of the spring. Playing on tired legs, the game got off to a sluggish start. Thankfully, sophomore Alyssa Hendricks gave Shattuck the jumpstart they needed in the 26th minute. The attacking midfielder read a ball played out of the back perfectly, picked it off cleanly, and raced in to coolly finish off low and to the far post for a 1-0 Sabre lead. Only 8 minutes later, Hendricks fed in a slashing LeFlore who had beaten her mark to the inside, and she fired home for a 2-0 halftime lead.
The first half goals seemed to reenergize the Shattuck attack, as they erupted with four more in the second half. Freshman Ashley Kemmet scored two, both unassisted efforts that she refused to give up on….muscling her way through tackles and challenges on both plays to find paydirt for her efforts. LeFlore added her second of the game as well, a sublime individual effort that saw her beat both the outside defender and covering central defender on her side before hitting a dipping far post effort that very few goalkeepers would be able to make a play on. Frankie Blevins capped the 6-0 day with a fine far post finish in the last minute. Commins and fellow GK Dana Grieme split halves in the combined shutout. The Shattuck back line of Patricia Wentworth, Carissa Seying, Alex Skinner, Brooke Scheuble, and Hunter Zamzow all made crucial plays in helping preserve the shutout.
The two wins leave the Sabres with all six points and sitting alone atop the First Division Red MRL standings. This weekend, they travel with the U17s to Richmond, VA for the Jefferson Cup Girls Showcase.