By Bob San
Maple Grove shocked highly-ranked Andover and ended a long winless draught against Mounds View recent girls’ soccer action.
The Crimson played their best effort in many years in dominating then No. 4 Andover 5-0 Sept. 20.
“We had a specific game plan we wanted to follow to beat them and the girls executed fantastically on all aspects of the game, both offensively and defensively,” MG coach Ben LeVahn said.
The Huskies came into the game undefeated and had six shutouts but Crimson sophomore McKenna Peplinski scored the opener when she chipped the goalie on the flank off a pass from Haley Nelson.
Senior forward Kailey Beatt scored a header off a free kick from junior defender Laryssa McLouth. Beatt got her second goal of the game off a through ball from junior defender Natalie Engel to put the Crimson up 3-0 at the end of the first half.
Nelson got on the board early with a shot to the lower corner in the second half when McLouth found her with a direct pass. Junior midfielder Amanda Travis ended the scoring for the night when Lynch found her with a great crossing ball through the box.
Sophomore Marissa Hamilton earned the shutout in goal, her second of the year. She had to come up big a few times, including a ball that she punched away over her head in the first half when the Crimson were leading 1-0.
The Crimson then beat section rival Mounds View for the first time in 11 years with a 2-1 victory Saturday, Sept. 22, at Crimson Stadium. All the scoring coming late in the game.
“With the strong wind the teams had a hard time getting an offensive flow going in either half and both defenses held well and prevented many shots,” LeVahn said.
Nelson got the Crimson on the board when Peplinski played a ball into the box off a corner kick and junior forward Lauren Schwarzrock redirected the ball off her head to Nelson, who blasted the ball in to give the Crimson the lead.
Mounds View countered with quick pressure and got a goal on a breakaway 2 minutes later. The game looked headed for overtime until Beatt took the ball down the right side and beat two players before crossing the ball to Nelson for the game winner.
Junior goalkeeper Casey Autey was between the sticks to earn her seventh victory of the season.
The Crimson, currently ranked fourth in the state, improved to 11-2-1 overall with a 4-1 win over Roseville Saturday, Sept. 29. Beatt scored two goals to lead the way.
Maple Grove is 5-1 in the conference, half a game behind Andover.
The Crimson are in second place because of a tough loss at Anoka Sept. 18. They gave up three shots in the first half and two went in. Maple Grove had great pressure over the entire second half but managed just one goal from Nelson off a crossing pass from Lynch. Unfortunately, they missed a penalty kick and could not generate any goals out of their other 12 shots in the half.
Maple Grove ends the regular season with an away game at Elk River Thursday, Oct. 4, and an away game at Osseo Saturday, Oct. 6.
“We feel really good about how we are playing as a team and are looking to refine a few areas that still need some improvement before the playoffs begin,” LeVahn said.