Tigers cannot hold on to two-goal lead, fall to 2-7
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield girls soccer team has suffered through a tough stretch to open its 2016 season.
Though they up less than three goals per game, the Tigers have not found their offensive groove.
Things looked to be on the uptick for Marshfield as it scored twice in the first half to take an early lead against undefeated Stevens Point Area Senior High — the first goals the Panthers had given up this season through seven games — but in the end Point was able to forge ahead with four goals in the second half and won 5-2 in a Wisconsin Valley Conference matchup Tuesday at Griese Park.
SPASH improves to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the WVC, and Marshfield drops to 2-7 and 0-2 in the conference.
“We came out with a lot of passion, fire, and intensity,” Marshfield coach Steve Lindner said. “That’s the way we have to play all the time, not just sometimes. We didn’t do it last weekend. We talked about it, and we knew we weren’t prepared. Today we were prepared, we had the right mindset, and the team played their best game of the season.”
Lindner was referring to a 2-0 loss to River Falls on April 16 in which he said the Tigers came out flat and unprepared following a 2-0 win in the opener of the tournament against Menomonie. He was impressed with the way the team was ready Tuesday to take on its toughest opponent to date.
“We had the mindset that we can win, not just that we can play with them and lose by four or something like that, it’s that we can win,” Lindner said. “We came in thinking that we can beat SPASH no matter what they’ve done in the past. We know now that we can play with everybody. It should give us confidence going into the rest of the season.”
Julia Urban scored on a penalty kick at the 22:40 mark, and freshman Nicole Simon scored her first varsity goal 13 minutes later off a chest pass from Maddie Haessly to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Marshfield controlled the ball most of the next 10 minutes before halftime. However, a mishap led to a Panthers’ goal that would give them new-found confidence.
A handball was called on the Tigers inside the goal box as goalkeeper Kate Herron was trying to scoop up a kick. Anna Zajakowski drilled home the penalty kick just 44 seconds before halftime to get SPASH on the board.
Justice Menge scored to tie it three minutes into the second half, and Marshfield never recovered.
The Tigers managed only one shot on goal in the second half, and SPASH scored three times in a nine-minute span to open up a lead.
Kaylin Kostuchowski scored twice in less than three minutes, and Abby Gemza added another goal for the Panthers.
“It’s not so much that we fell apart. It’s just that SPASH picked up their game, and I don’t think we were ready for it,” Marshfield senior Olivia Haessly said. “I still think we played a really solid second half against a really solid team.”
Going forward, starting with a game Thursday at Wisconsin Rapids, the Tigers need to be more aggressive with loose balls, Olivia Haessly said.
“Stepping to the ball is really big for us — and stepping hard,” Olivia Haessly said. “We have a step with a sprint, not a walk or a jog. I think you could see on the field in the second half that SPASH really stepped to the ball and really wanted it, and that’s why we got beat.”
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Panthers 5, Tigers 2
Stevens Point 1 4 – 5
Marshfield 2 0 – 2
First half: 1. M, Julia Urban (penalty kick), 22:40; 2. M, Nicole Simon (Maddie Haessly), 35:42; 3. SP, Anna Zajakowski (penalty kick), 44:16.
Second half: 4. SP, Justice Menge, 48:00; 5. SP, Kaylin Kostuchowski (Abby Gemza), 69:58; 6. SP, Kostuchowski (Gemza), 72:45; 7. SP, Gemza (Lauren Huspeni), 79:00.
Saves: SP, ToniRae Evans 3; M, Kate Herron 3.
Records: Stevens Point 7-0, 3-0 Wisconsin Valley Conference; Marshfield 2-7, 0-2 Wisconsin Valley Conference.