Love nets four as Minot High crushes Saints

Junior forward Taryn Love continues to make life difficult for opposing teams.

On Tuesday, it was St. Mary’s that failed to contain the Minot High girls soccer team’s leading scorer and paid dearly for it. Love netted a first-half hat trick as the Majettes handled the Saints 6-0 at Herb Parker Stadium.

“Everyone tonight was on top of their game,” Love said. “We really wanted to win this one and keep our streak going.”

Love scored her first goal in the eighth minute, using her speed to give Minot an early 1-0 lead. She broke away from the Saints’ defenders and tracked down a through ball from senior midfielder Paige Melby along the right side. She gather the ball, took a few dribbles and buried a shot past St. Mary’s goalkeeper Lindsey Schweitzer.

“She’s so quick,” Minot coach Matt Pfau said. “If she takes the space other teams give her, she’s going to score all kinds of goal the rest of the year.”

The Majettes (8-1 overall, 6-1 West Region) struck again less than two minutes later when Paige Melby found the back of the net after a barrage of shots. It started with a shot off the foot of Alicia Feehan and continued with strikes from Love and junior forward Tesha Hughes before Melby’s ball from the top of the box slipped through Schweitzer’s hands.

“The first two goals were big for us,” Love said. “We haven’t been scoring more than one goal, so to even break that one-goal streak in the first 10 minutes was huge. It knocked down their confidence a little bit and gave us a leg up.”

The Saints (2-8-1, 2-5) came right back with heavy pressure immediately following Melby’s goal, but Minot junior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Stenberg came up with a save on Erin Dohm to keep St. Mary’s off the board. Stenberg finished with three saves for her sixth shutout.

Love nearly got her second of the match when a centering pass from senior Makaila Anderson in the 21st minute skipped over her foot in what would have been a shot at an open net. Love didn’t miss when Anderson found her a minute later, burying a shot past Schweitzer for a 3-0 lead.

Love scored the next two goals as well, her third coming after St. Mary’s applied its heaviest pressure of the match. The Saints had several good looks from inside the box, but Minot’s defense blocked the shooting lanes and kept the ball away from Stenberg.

“You can kind of read where they’re going to go,” senior defender Chenoa Erz said. “You just try to put your body in front of the ball.”

Love gathered the ball just outside the box and went the length of the field, deking past defenders before beating Schweitzer near-post.

The Majettes added two more in the second half, starting in the 54th minute with Love’s fourth marker on an assist from sophomore defender Alyssa Holtz.

“It really was a full team effort,” Love said. “The balls I got were always perfectly placed. I just used my speed. It was really teamwork tonight. It really helped to have everyone be a part of it.”

Junior midfielder Autumne Haskell scored off a corner kick in the 75th minute for Minot’s sixth goal. Hughes served a ball into the box, where Haskell placed a shot over Schweitzer for her second goal of the season. Minot’s six goals are a season high.

“I feel like the other games this season we’ve created offense and we’ve created breakaways, but we hadn’t had a night where we consistently finished,” Pfau said. “Tonight the girls stepped up and everybody finished.”

The Majettes host Mandan on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Herb Parker Stadium.

Mike Kraft covers Minot High athletics. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.