‘Super Soccer Saturday’ ends week in dramatic fashion for Lady Knights

STMA’s Leah Johnson (7) goes after a ball with Elk River’s Jenna Kivley in hot pursuit. Johnson scored the eventual game winner. (Sun staff photo by Jake Schroer)

STMA’s Leah Johnson (7) goes after a ball with Elk River’s Jenna Kivley in hot pursuit. Johnson scored the eventual game winner. (Sun staff photo by Jake Schroer)

By Jake Schroer

Elk River Star News

 

It was a busy week for the Lady Knights. The team played three games, all at home.

The week began with a 2-2 tie against Buffalo after STMA had taken a 2-0 lead at halftime. Sophomore Leah Johnson and senior Emily Swanson tallied STMA’s goals.

Coach Megan Johnson said that her team did a good job taking it to Buffalo early on, but some communication breakdowns led to Buffalo’s comeback. STMA had several scoring chances before and after Buffalo tied the game, including a golden opportunity in front of Buffalo’s goal before halftime that would have increased the lead to 3-0.

With just seconds left, DJ Noel corner-kicked the ball toward the goal, but the following shot attempt sailed wide of the net to end the game.

Coach Johnson said the team would work out the kinks in practice before welcoming Monticello.

Knights rout Magic

The Knights picked up the action on Thursday against a rested Monticello team coming off of a 6-0 victory against Legacy Christian six days prior to the matchup. This week also featured a crooked number of goals, but not in the Magic’s favor.

Leah Johnson led the way for the Knights with three goals, as STMA took a 4-0 lead at halftime. Tori Jensen, Jordyn Walker, Makenzie Langdok and Alana Achterkirch each contributed goals of their own, with Langdok, Walker and Ashley Swanson tallying assists.

Becky Panuska and Anita Thammavongsa each played a half in goal. Thammavongsa saw no shots on goal, while Panuska needed to make all of three saves for the Knights, who eventually closed out Monticello 7-0.

 

ELK RIVER

On an afternoon dubbed “Super Soccer Saturday,” the Knights looked to close the week on a high note against Elk River. The Knights snagged a 1-0 lead early in the game on a goal by Tori Jensen and held it until the Elks tied the score late in the first half on a play in which the goaltender came out to defend and the scorer got behind her for an empty net goal.

In the second half, the teams remained in a stalemate until Makenzie Langdok scored with about 16 minutes left in regulation. The Knights worked hard to preserve the lead, but Elk River eventually tied the game. In a twist, unlike the earlier game against Buffalo, this game featured two overtime periods, a standard for the Minnesota State High School League.

Coach Johnson said that the Knights had Elk River out of their game in the first half, and if they came out with that same intensity in overtime, they could win.

In overtime, Leah Johnson scored the eventual game winner, capping a huge week for herself and the team. Johnson got the ball on a breakaway, which gave her the chance she needed.

“I had a defender coming up on me, and I hooked around with my left foot and it hit the top post and bounced back down into the back of the goal, so, it’s pretty exciting,” she said.

Coach Johnson called the victory a total team effort.

“On the bench and on the field, it was well-played by all,” she said. “This is a great group of kids. They enjoy playing and they have fun when they play, so we always look forward to that.”

The Knights played at St. Francis on Tuesday.

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