Metea Valley holds off
late surge by Geneva
Mustangs take advantage twice when Vikings lose focus
By Derek Wolff
GENEVA -- Emily Larson’s 79th-minute goal off a mad scramble at the net mouth after a Quincy Swanson corner kick put Geneva on the board, but it was too little, too late for the Vikings on Tuesday night in a 2-1 loss against visiting Metea Valley.
The Mustangs (12-7-3) closed out their regular season with back-to-back wins by scoring twice early in the second half after a feeling-out process dominated the first.
Geneva (8-10-2) continues to go through growing pains and was victimized by two mental lapses, Vikings coach Megan Owens said.
“I think we played well for sections of the game, but we weren't the most focused today,” Owens said. “We lost focus at certain points. The goals we gave up were simple mistakes, not marking up. We talked about the importance of that since next week. In the postseason, it comes down to who makes the least mistakes. We make those same mistakes next week, season over. It's a whole different feeling.”
With both sides starting with two fowards at the top, neither was able to generate much offense in a scoreless first half.
Metea Valley had its best look at goal in the 13th minute when junior forward Madie Sandberg took a ball into the 18 on the right side and rifled a shot on goal.
Geneva keeper Carrie Ostergard was moving from right to left and looked to have a bead on the ball, but Vikings forward Mary Landry didn’t want to take any chances. Landry hurtled in front of the net to redirect the shot away with her head. She followed the ball and dove on a second shot attempt to force it out for a throw in.
The Mustangs controlled the pace of play for the first 25 minutes before Geneva went on the offensive to end the half.
“We were dissapointed that we didn't come away with something in the first 20 minutes; that would have probably completely changed the next 20 minutes,” Mustangs coach Chris Whaley said. “But they found a way in the second half. I was proud of them; it's a good way to end the season and something to build off of.”
Metea Valley goalkeeper Amy Ahern stopped shots from Geneva’s Olivia Tegge and Emily Larson to keep the score at nil-nil.
The Vikings used the momentum gained at the end of the first to press forward early in the second, with Megan Albrecht earning a corner in the 41st minute.
Swanson struck a searching ball from the right flag, looking for Landry in the middle of the box, but they couldn’t connect.
Albrecht played a through ball forward for an open Maddie Stellick in the 48th minute after the latter slipped beyond the final defender, but Ahern came off her line to boot the ball away.
Then, two minutes later, midfielder Abigail Severson turned and scored to break the deadlock on the Mustangs’ first shot of the half.
“I saw an opening at the far corner of the box so I spun off,” Severson said. "Jade (Eriksen Russo) laid off to me, and I turned and saw the open shot so I slid it in.”
Defender Megan Morris put a header past Ostergard to double the lead in the 54th minute on what became the game-winning goal.
“Katie (Kennedy) played a great ball in, and I was just able to get off my mark and get a head on it,” Morris said.
Morris’ goal made the Mustangs 2-for-2 on shots to open the half after going through the offensive lull to end the first.
“We just reminded ourselves of what we were doing well at the beginning of the game,” Morris said. “We came out with a lot of energy and we were able to put two goals in.”
Ostergard prevented a 3-0 lead in the 65th minute, diving to her left to stop Sophia Senese’s shot off a corner kick from Maddie Morris. The freshman also denied Sandberg in the 77th minute to keep the score close.
Owens said her goalkeeper has made great strides this season after being called up to replace the injured Emma Harkleroad.
“She's been outstanding for us,” Owens said of Ostergard. “Most kids couldn't make the jump from freshman to varsity; most field players couldn't. She's done a great job for us, and we need her to continue to work hard and stay focused. She's done some great things, made some great save for us. We're very pleased with how she's stepped up and what we've seen out of her.”
Larson’s goal game with about 30 seconds remaining in the match, and while Geneva quickly got it back to midfield for the restart, Metea Valley took the ball down the sideline immediately as the horn sounded.
Whaley said he wasn’t concerned with how his side ended the game, with Severson saying that the back-to-back wins signified growth and and that he hoped to be ready for the playoffs.
“It helps to boost our confidenece,” Severson said. “This team has a lot of potential, and for a while we struggled to find it. But we know how to work off of each other and we use these games as motivation to see what we can do.”
The Vikings will finish the regular season with Wheaton Academy on Friday before opening the postseason against Lake Park next Wednesday.
“We just need to get some practice in to fine-tune some things,” Owens said. “We're hanging with everyone we play but unfortunately the scores don't always reflect it. I'm pleased with how we're playing overall.”
GK Amy Ahern
D Megan Morris
D Avery Cielinski
M Sophia Senese
M Alena Sidwell
M Miranda Williams
M Katie Kennedy
M Jade Eriksen Russo
M Abigail Severson
F MaKenna Schoolman
F Madie Sandberg
GK Carrie Ostergard
D Quincy Swanson
D Megan Newingham
D Briar Schwardt
M Lauren Albrecht
M Megan Fitz
M Emily Hauser
F Megan Albrecht
F Sarah Sommers
F Mary Landry
F Allie Mikos
MVP of the Match: Megan Morris, D, Metea Valley