Scoring woes continue
The Minot High School girls soccer team dominated possession through the final 20 minutes of Monday’s West Region game against Mandan.
But a muffed penalty kick with less than nine minutes remaining kept the Majettes (2-3-1) off the scoreboard and the Braves (2-2-2) escaped with a scoreless draw at Optimist Soccer Complex.
Minot sophomore Malena Lennon took the penalty kick after freshman Lydia Frei was dropped in the 18-yard box on a hip check from Mandan sophomore defender Madysen Zander. Lennon eyed the lower left corner, but struck too low and lofted the ball for an easy save by Mandan junior goalkeeper Rachel Ford.
“It was a great opportunity for us,” Minot coach Matt Pfau said. “If I had to have her take it again, I would. She’s our best one. She just, I think, hit the ground first or something.”
Ford mishandled the ball on numerous occasions, but managed the box well and denied the Majettes’ furious attack late in the game.
Minot sophomore forward Taryn Love controlled the left side of the field and created much of the home side’s scoring opportunities in the second half. Neither team had quality opportunities in the first half and MHS earned all six of its corner kicks in the second half.
“As soon as I did catch a break, I mean, I just couldn’t get it across and in the middle,” said Love, who sent one corner kick behind the goal.
With less than five minutes remaining, Love eluded a defender and crossed the ball into the six-yard box. Ford fumbled the delivery as MHS sophomore Teasha Hughes closed in. The ball was loose for about three seconds with Hughes and Ford tangled and a Mandan defender was able to clear it.
“That was one I thought was going in for sure,” Love said. “I don’t know. It’s just hard with a team like that, like when they’re so aggressive. I mean, they can shut us down, but we played hard.”
Minot has struggled to score this season and has only two goals outside of a lopsided 4-0 win against overmatched Jamestown.
Minot sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stenberg earned her third shutout of the season and matched Ford’s abilities off the goal lines. Both players foiled opposing attacks by meeting through balls near the top of the boxes and limiting close-range shots. Stenberg finished with six saves and Ford made nine.
Ford saw more action as Minot took three corner kicks in a two-minute span early in the second half and earned two more in the final minute.
“(Ford) plays huge for us back there,” Mandan coach Jennifer Kessler said. “She’s our anchor in the back and our defensive line is really tough. They come ready game after game and good thing ’cause they’re saving us here.”
Minot beat Mandan 1-0 earlier in the season, but the Braves have eight points to Minot’s seven in the West Region standings. Both teams have four games remaining and Minot is in fifth place. The top four from each region make the state tournament.
Minot hosts first-place Bismarck St. Mary’s (5-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Saints won the first meeting 2-1.