Majettes aim to solve goal-scoring woes

To say the Minot High girls soccer team struggled to score goals last season would be a gross understatement.

The Majettes mustered just eight goals – six against Jamestown – in 10 games and finished one point from qualifying for the state tournament. Instead, Minot finished fifth in the West Region at 3-5-2 and joined Jamestown as the two lone teams out of the postseason picture on this side of the state.

This year, the Majettes have retooled their approach and are concentrating more on the offensive side of the pitch.

“We created chances last year, but I think we panicked when we got within 18 feet,” Minot coach Matt Pfau said. “Formationwise, we’re adding another attacker and hopefully that will bump those numbers up on offense.”

The Majettes will use a formation that consists of four defenders, three center midfielders, two wings and a striker. Last year, Minot had five players back on defense with two center midfielders, two wings and a striker.

The new formation will be on display Saturday when the Majettes open their season in Grand Forks at the East-West Crossover tournament against Devils Lake at 1 p.m. They play Grand Forks Red River the same day at 5 p.m. The tournament was moved from Mandan due to poor field conditions.

The Majettes have experience on their side, returning all but one player. Their roster consists of five seniors and eight juniors, many of them anchoring their back line.

“The experience helps a lot considering last year we pretty much got all those flaws worked out,” senior defender Chenoa Erz said. “This year, we’ve pretty much corrected them and understand what to do.”

Lost in Minot’s inability to find the back of the net was its strength defensively. The Majettes surrendered nine goals last season and pitched five shutouts. Junior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stenberg made 91 saves last year, stopping 15 shots in each meeting with defending state champion Century.

“Kaitlyn Stenberg was very good last year as a sophomore,” Pfau said. “Malena Lennon is our leader directing the defense. Having those two in the back is really going to help us.”

Lennon, a junior, is one of four upperclassmen on defense.

Junior forward Taryn Love led the Majettes in scoring last year with three goals and two assists. Senior midfielder Paige Melby scored twice and Erz, Lennon and sophomore defender Alicia Feehan each added a goal. Feehan also had two assists.

The lack of scoring was frustrating, but missing out on the state tournament is a far bigger motivater.

“It was a big heartbreak not going for the first in a few years,” Melby said. “It was disappointing, but we were a young team and now we’re ready to take on the challenge.”

Mike Kraft covers Minot High athletics and the Minot Minotauros. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.