MILLER CITY — Junior Madison Kreeger scored a goal with 3:05 remaining in the match to lift St. John’s to a 2-1 girls soccer victory over Miller City on a brilliant but windy Monday afternoon at Miller City.
The Lady Blue Jays (3-9-1) led 1-0 at the half on a goal by senior Alyssa Gable.
However, the heavy wind that blew throughout the match — as well as the lowering sun in the west — was now with the host Wildcats (7-7) and they tried to take advantage. They played most of the half in their offensive end, peppering shot after shot at the net and sophomore netminder Samantha Wehri (15 saves vs. 18 shots).
She and her defensive mates held up — despite not getting a lot of forays into their offensive end — but could not completely hold up.
The best chances the hosts had were at 38:10, when senior Brandy Gerschutz had an open look from the middle but her 20-yarder hit off the crossbar; at 37:40, when Gerschutz fired an 18-yard laser that Wehri denied; at 28-29, when her free kick from 28 yards was just over the top; and 25:20, when senior Dana Kohls got on a full-speed run down the middle with Wehri coming out, and Kohls tried to pooch it over the keeper to herself to the left side but the ball rolled out of bounds.
The Jays seemed to get a better handle on the proceedings after that until the 11:57 mark. Sophomore Livia Schroeder got control on the left side and passed inside to Gerschutz; her open 22-yarder went over the top to the left side for a 1-all tie.
That was the last real opening for the hosts.
On the other end, the Jays started to mount a better challenge.
At 4:29, junior Lyndsay Mohler fired an 18-yarder but Miller City freshman keeper Amanda Simon (7 saves versus 10 shots on-goal) got the stop.
The Jays got the match-winner at 3:05. Kreeger would not be denied this goal, fighting through defenders to get a 14-yarder on the right post that slipped to the left of Simon and into the net for a 2-1 edge.
“Samantha was outstanding in the net again. Our defense was very good overall,” St. John’s coach John Munoz said. “We didn’t give them a lot of open looks; they are a very skilled team and we didn’t give them a lot of free room to maneuver. We are making fewer and fewer mistakes on that end; it’s a matter of building our games as a team and individuals.”
The Jays made that stand up.
“We continue to struggle with our propensity to push the ball straight down the middle. We really can’t use our speed when we do that,” Miller City coach Ron Brown explained. “We stress it in practice and in matches but we continue to go back to old habits. When we push the ball down the sides, we can then cross to the middle but we make the keeper and the defenders move.”
With the wind in the first half, the Jays had the better of the proceedings, especially early.
Kreeger had a prime look from 20 yards but her middle shot was just wide left.
At 25:59, senior Kelsey Pohlman got control in front of the net on a corner kick but her 8-yarder was just wide right.
On the other end, all of the Wildcats’ shots were outside the 18-yard box and were knocked down by the wind, making Wehri’s job easier.
The Jays got on the board at 14:53 with a ncie sequence in front of the net. Kreeger, on the left side, crossed to Mohler on the right side. She crossed back to Gable just outside the 18 on left wing and her curling shot went high near side and into the twine.
The Jays had two more prime chances: at 11:15, when sophomore Emilee Grothouse’s 23-yarder was denied; and 9:58, when Kreeger got on a run but her 20-yard laser was also denied.
“Our touches, ball possession, passes and runs are better and better. Those girls that didn’t have experience coming into the season are gaining it now,” Munoz added. “Our schedule is very difficult, so it doesn’t always look like we’re progressing, but we are. We’re continuing to build on the offensive end and getting more and better looks at the net.”
Miller City hosts Archbold Saturday.
“The wind really wasn’t an affect for me; the first goal they score was unfortunate,” Brown added. “We have the skills to play better than we have so far and have more success. We just need to play the way we have to — using the entire width and length of the field — and we can use those skills to our advantage.”
St. John’s is off until it hosts Sidney Lehman Oct. 3 at 5 p.m. (moved up from Oct. 6).