Chances go begging as Majettes soccer draws with Saints, 1-1
Hands on top of the head and staring up at the clear blue sky in disbelief.
It was one of those days for the Majettes in their home opener, as a handful of missed opportunities made the Minot High School girls soccer team settle for a 1-1 draw Saturday afternoon against Bismarck St. Mary’s at the Optimist Soccer Complex.
A perplexing sequel to the WDA Tournament championship game that was won, 1-0, by Minot last season in Bismarck.
“We just have to relax and finish in the offensive third,” MHS head coach Matt Pfau said. “That is obviously what we struggled with today. Hitting posts, shooting right at the keeper and all those little things. We know how to finish, but it happens in soccer and sometimes you just have an off day. Their goalie played pretty well, so we got a tie instead of a win.”
Both goals came in the first half.
St. Mary’s (2-0-1, 2-0-1 WDA) capitalized on a Minot (2-0-1, 2-0-1 WDA) defensive mistake — a mistimed sliding tackle — to break free for the opening goal. Abigail Kopp found herself one-on-one with MHS freshman goalkeeper Emelea Miller after Avry Greff slid the ball over to set her up.
“That’s frustrating for any defender,” Pfau said. “We had a chance to clear it and just missed it… You can’t be the better team and have that mistake because that will end up in the back of the net. We need to rally and get more defenders back so, if we make that mistake, then we will have more players back to help.”
Minot needed a little under four minutes to respond with the equalizer.
Speedy freshman winger MaLiah Burke ran with the ball from up the sideline and cut in near the end line. With a Saints defender on her back, Burke rolled a crisp pass across the brown grass. Waiting for it was sophomore forward Lainey Sandberg, who unleashed a one-time shot just outside the six-yard box to knot the score at 1-1 with 17:53 remaining in the first half.
“Lainey (Sandberg) had a great finish on the goal we did score,” Pfau said. “She has been great with five goals in three games so far.”
Despite the Majettes outshooting the Saints, 25-4 (19-4 shots on target), Minot was unable to find the game-winning goal. It certainly wasn’t because they lacked quality scoring chances.
Sandberg hit the woodwork twice, a few shots agonizingly rolled past the post and, for one final gut punch, MHS senior Allison Lepp was stoned from point-blank range by St. Mary’s goalie Hallie Schweitzer with two minutes remaining.
“For some reason it got in their heads today when they missed a couple of breakaways,” Pfau said. “We got nervous, I thought. Instead of being calm and finishing. So, we need to simulate that in practices and figure it out. We got plenty of kids that can score goals on this team. We just struggled with it today.”
The Majettes remain at home next week with three more games against Bismarck schools. Minot will host Bismarck High on Tuesday, Legacy on Thursday and Century on Friday. Each game will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Optimist Soccer Complex.
Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.