Nathan Broek | Sports Editor
HULL-Western Christian did not take long to score its first two goals in the Class 1A Region 1 girls’ soccer tournament game with Sioux Center Wednesday, May 30, but the Wolfpack had to play a lot of defense after that in order to come away with a 3-0 victory.
Western Christian only needed one minute of the game clock to tick off to score its first goal, courtesy of Emma Bousema. Then at the 21:02 mark of the first half, Courtney Kollis notched the Wolfpack’s second goal of the game and Western Christian took a 2-0 lead into intermission.
“We’ve been working on our offense this past week and being able to get those two goals at the beginning of the game really helped us,” said Western Christian coach Danni Havens. “It kept our energy high in the first half, so I was happy we were able to get those two goals pretty quickly.”
But things changed in the second half as Western Christian was unable to score again until 8:01 remaining in the contest.
“In the second half, I noticed that we were not holding on to the ball really well. We were either passing it straight to the other team or, after our first touch, we were giving it away. We just weren’t making any smart decisions,” Havens said. “Sioux Center, I would say, played a better second half than we did with possessing the ball and keeping it in our defensive half that we did, or at least to the point where I would have liked.”
That said, the Wolfpack were pleased to get their third goal when they did. At the 8:05 mark, Bousema was fouled just outside the penalty box. Kailey Heemskerk took the free kick but, instead of booting it, she used a touch pass to give the ball to Bousema, who kicked it to the left corner of the net to account for the 3-0 final.
“That goal was really beautiful because usually we try to kick it over the top of the defense. But this time we executed what we worked on and it was beautiful for her (Bousema) to put it into the left corner,” Havens said. “It made me relieved to get that third goal because with two goals they (Sioux Center) could easily have come back and tied it, or came back to win the game.”
The Wolfpack took 15 shots in this contest with eight of those coming on goal. April Van Tol was the goalie and she had four saves in four attempts.
Mistakes cost Western the game and the season
HULL-Western Christian had opportunities to score, but two mistakes late in the second half gave MOC-Floyd Valley the momentum and the Wolfpack saw their season come to an end in a 2-1 defeat in the second round of the Class 1A Region 1 girls’ soccer tournament Friday, June 1, in Hull.
This was the third time this season Western Christian had faced the Dutch. Both teams squared off with each other during the regular season in Orange City with the Wolfpack coming away with a 1-0 victory and a 2-1 win.
“Every time we’ve faced MOC this past season it’s been a very close game and I knew it would be a very tough game for us tonight,” said Western Christian coach Danni Havens.
The score was 0-0 after the first half.
“I was a little surprised it was tied 0-0, because we had a lot of shots on goal. We were mainly on our offensive half then they were on their offensive half. We put a lot of shots up, but they just weren’t quite getting in,” said Havens. “I thought we would at least get a couple of them before halftime, but unfortunately it was 0-0.”
It did not take long, however, for the Wolfpack to get on the board. Tori Wynja broke the MOC-Floyd Valley defense and dished a cross pass to Lindsey Van Otterloo who used her right leg to find the back of the net to make the score 1-0 with about 38 minutes left in the game.
“I was very pleased and very happy about it (the goal). I thought that was going to change how the game was going to go. I thought we would at least get one more in to help us,” Havens said.
But the Dutch had a quick response, tying the game about one minute later.
“We weren’t able to clear the ball out as quickly, so it created a lot of mix-ups inside the 18-yard box and it (the ball) just squeezed into the corner of the net,” Havens said.
The game remained tied for much of the second half, but at about the four-minute mark MOC-Floyd Valley scored what ended up being the game-winning goal.
“MOC was trying to get the ball over the top of our defense in an attempt to try and beat our back row player down the middle. They got it through, but two of our defensive players where able to keep up with her. Unfortunately, our keeper came out too early and the girl was able to get the ball over her head and into the net,” Havens noted.
Havens said this loss was, and will continue to be, tough to take.
“It’s going to be a tough pill to swallow. We were controlling most of the game, we had so many opportunities, MOC is a decent team, but unfortunately those two mistakes cost us the game,” the coach said. “Like I told the girls when you’ve played a team twice before it’s always hard to beat them a third time.”
Western Christian finished the year 10-5.
“We have really progressed since the beginning of the season and we’ve developed great team chemistry,” Havens said. “Yes, we are going to miss our seniors but our juniors really filled into their rolls this year. They have a lot to look forward to and hopefully we’ll go further in the tournament next year than we did this year.”
Overall shots and goalie saves were not available at the press deadline.