by Bob San
Osseo-Maple Grove Sports
A new team has carried on the winning ways for the Maple Grove girls’ soccer program. The Crimson, with many new varsity players, came into the week sitting in second place in the conference and ranked No. 10 in the state. They are now 7-2-5 overall and 5-1-2 in the conference.
“As the season continues on the team is continuing to improve in both our offensive end and defensive end,” Maple Grove coach Ben LeVahn said.
Since losing to conference leader Centennial 5-0 Sept. 4, the Crimson have gone 5-1-2 and have given up one goal or less in those games. Offensively, they have scored more goals with scoring from different players.
“We have also begun to play better combinations and attack both the outside and center of the field depending on how the opponent is playing us,” LeVahn said. “We have had great possession of the ball all season long and have had numerous goals where we have connected eight passes or more before finishing.”
Tuesday Sept. 17,
vs. Blaine (tie 1-1)
Blaine was able to capitalize on an early foul in the first 2 minutes and scored off a rebound when Maple Grve goalie Marissa Hamilton got a piece of it but couldn’t bring it in. MG tied it when senior midfield Michelle Jancaric stole a ball and fed into the left-corner for sophomore Breanna Johnson, who attacked the endline and played a ball back to an attacking midfielder Samantha Landeis for a one-time shot to tie up the game. Blaine had no more chances against the Crimson defense anchored by Jancaric, Caroline Griffith and Natalie Engel.
Thursday Sept. 19,
vs. Anoka (win 2-0)
Maple Grove scored 2 minutes into the second when junior McKenna Peplinski made a strong run and made a dangerous ball into the 18. Johnson fought through the mess of people and got a toe on the ball to re-direct it past the Anoka keeper to put the Crimson up 1-0. The Crimson kept the pace up, playing well and later Peplinksi completed a nice give-and-go with junior Madison Carey and Carey slotted the ball past the diving keeper to put Maple Grove up 2-0. The Crimson defense played well, especially on the flanks with Laryssa McLouth, Smantha Boonstra and Jackie Ehlert helping to make sure the Tornadoes stayed out of the deep parts of the field and help senior Casey Autey record her fourth shutout of the season.
Saturday Sept. 21,
vs. Mounds View (lose 0-4)
Mounds View came into the game undefeated and with some big wins under their belt.
“We played well and help possession for most of the game but could not finish,” LeVahn said. “Mounds View had a strong attack and put a lot of pressure on when they did attack.”
In last week’s action, Maple Grove tied Andover 2-2 Tuesday, Sept. 24, drew 1-1 with Irondale Thursday Sept. 26, and blanked Roseville 2-0 Saturday Sept. 28 at home.
The Crimson end the regular season with a home game against Elk River Thursday, Oct. 3.