U16 Girls Off to Hot Start in 2016

The Shattuck-St. Mary’s U16 girls soccer team had a busy start to the New Year, completing their whirlwind two weeks with 4 wins and a loss in 5 games. 

Only four days after returning from Holiday Break, the 16s bussed up to the Recreation Dome on Minnesota University’s campus for two games as a part of the Eden Prairie SC College Showcase.  In Game 1 of that day, the girls faced off against Dakota Rev’s U17 MRL squad.  Despite a few close chances and good bouts of sustained possession, it was Rev that scored first with a well-hit shot from a tight angle that found the side netting on the far side of the goal.  Instead of letting a goal against the run of play defeat them, the girls stepped up their play in the second half and nearly equalized on three occasions.  Unfortunately, between the goalpost and the Rev SC goalkeeper, the score remained 1-0 against SSM at the final whistle.
 
Getting only a one-game break before having to take the field again, the Sabre ladies dug deep and played a brilliant Game 2 of the day on tired legs against host club Eden Prairie SC’s U16 team.  Taking advantage of an early free kick from a wide area just outside the 18-yard box, Sophomore Halie Reznik scored the first U16 goal of 2016 with a well-placed one-touch finish from Brooke Scheuble’s serve.  The goal served as a springboard for Shattuck, and they doubled their lead in the 19th minute when Ella Beuning slotted a left-footed shot low and past the outstretched arms of the keeper.  Reznik assisted the goal, and she would go on to have a hand in all four Shattuck goals on the day.  In the second half, she looped a right-footed shot over the head of the keeper for a 3-0 Shattuck advantage.  Finally in the 66th minute she beat her defender on the left side of goal, hit an outswinging cross that the keeper could not get to, and watched as Catherine Seying slammed home her effort for the final Shattuck goal of the day.  For the day, the Shattuck ladies scored four goals while conceding only one.  Junior GK Katie Commins played all the minutes, earning a shutout in the second game.
 
This past weekend the U16s had another busy slate of games, this time hosting three different teams in Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening friendlies.  On Friday night, the Sabres welcomed Sporting St. Croix to the Dane Family Field House.  SSM came out firing once again, with freshman Frankie Blevins rifling a left-footed shot into the far corner from distance after she turned her defender in tight space.  Despite several other close chances, it wasn’t until near the end of the first half that Nina LeFlore broke through for Shattuck’s second goal.  The freshman forward collected a slotted pass from Reznik, fought through a tackle, and struck a hard shot that eluded the St. Croix goalkeeper.  The second half saw a third and final Shattuck goal scored in the 54th minute resulting from a scramble in front of goal.  Reznik once again cut outside of her defender and unleashed a shot that the keeper got down to parry away.  Seying’s volley on the ensuing rebound could only find the crossbar, but Alyssa Hendricks’ patience and awareness set her up perfectly for the finishing touch.  The final score was 3-0 in favor of Shattuck, with Commins and sophomore Dana Grieme splitting halves in the shutout.  It would be their first, but not last such result of the weekend.

Saturday’s opponent made the trek all the way from Thunder Bay, Ontario in Canada for the game, and brought with them a mixed group of U16 and U17 players.  To level the playing field, the Shattuck U16s called in a small handful of U18 players to fill in as subs and provide additional depth.  The result was another impressive one for Shattuck with four goals scored by three different players.  A first half tap-in from Beuning was added to in the second half by three more goals.  In the 54th minute, bruising center back Patricia Wentworth rose highest to nod home Reznik’s corner kick.  In the final 10 minutes of the game, junior Alaysia Lane finished off two of her own in spectacular fashion.  First, she one-timed a driven ball from LeFlore back the other way and past a diving Thunder Bay GK.  To round out her night, the Rutgers commit weaved her way in and out of three would-be defenders and slid the ball past the keeper.  Despite the offensive outpouring, credit too also had to be given to Wentworth, Carissa Seying, Alex Skinner, Susan Kehl, Hunter Zamzow, and Morgan Friday, as the collection of defenders didn’t allow a shot on goal the entire game.

Finally in Sunday evening’s contest, the Shattuck 16s welcomed Eden Prairie SC to the dome.  Playing on tired legs and dealing with injuries sustained over the course of the weekend, the first half was played at a slower pace than what SSM is used to playing.  Still, the back line held strong, and few chances were given up on the Shattuck goal.  The same form held true into the second half, and just when it looked as though the game were destined for a 0-0 tie, Hendricks broke through for the team’s first goal late in the second half.  She wasn’t done there though, as she then completed the brace with a calmly tucked away penalty kick in the game’s final minute.  Commins and Grieme combined their efforts for their third shutout in as many games.
 
The 16s have the upcoming weekend off before welcoming Rev SC and Eden Prairie SC to the dome during Winter Family Weekend.  The weekend after that, Shattuck will host their annual U16/17 Girls College Showcase, an event that’s expected to attract close to 100 college coaches and 21 of the Midwest’s most talented teams.