FORT JENNINGS — With the tournament season less than three weeks away, soccer teams are looking to get healthy and start clicking.
Jefferson and Fort Jennings were the two girls soccer units that matched up on a dreary, windy and damp Tuesday afternoon at Fort Jennings Outdoor Soccer Complex.
The Lady Musketeers used their depth and speed to overwhelm the undermanned Lady Wildcats 10-1 in non-conference action.
The Musketeers (6-1-3) dominated the shots on-goal 22-5, with Jefferson senior goalkeeper Paige Miller stopping 11 shots and Lady Musketeer senior netminder grabbing one save (3 shots) and sophomore Erin Osting two (2 shots).
“Down to 13 players (from a season start of 16), we were a bit overmatched today. It’s tough to go against a good team like Fort Jennings, with their depth, speed and skill,” Jefferson coach Josiah Stober acknowledged. “We try to keep the girls in shape, plus during matches, we pick our spots as to when we can get girls a rest. Some of them don’t leave the field. We keep fighting, no matter what.”
Fort Jennings mentor Rodney Wagner figured his team’s speed was the decisive factor.
“We had an advantage there. We are also deeper; we can bring girls off the bench and keep it up,” Wagner noted. “We controlled the whole game. Jefferson made a few good runs and took some good shots but only broke the defense a couple of times.”
The hosts got on the board early on as senior Katlin Stechschulte — off a corner kick — found the back of the net with 36 minutes showing for a 1-0 edge.
They went up 2-0 at 31:25 when Stechschulte assisted senior Marissa Mesker from right to left, where Mesker went back from the left post to the right post, hitting the post from 14 yards and trickling in.
Jefferson had its first real shot at 27:42 when sophomore Bailey Miller fired from 22 yards but German got the save.
At 23:36, Jennings junior Marissa Good crossed from the right side to the left post to Stechschulte, where she netted the orb from six yards for a 3-0 edge.
That lead expanded to 4-0 at 19:27 when senior Mara Brown fed Good across the goal mouth, where her 6-yarder from the right post nudged the ball over the goal line.
The Lady Wildcats got their only tally at 18:41. Freshman Logan Hamilton got the original attempt, a 12-yarder from the left side that hit off the right post; however, Bailey Miller was Johnny-on-the-spot for the 6-yard follow, putting the orb past German and into the left side of the twine for a 4-1 deficit.
The hosts got that back — and eventually more — at the 17:20 mark. Junior Emily Grone fed a through ball to Good, who made the run down the right post and fired a 12-yarder over the top.
It became 6-1 at 3:18 when Stechschulte, off a corner kick, got control from 16 yards and fired from the right side to the left.
The Musketeers had a chance to make it 7-1 just 54 ticks into the second half when junior Ashley Gable was fouled in the box but her penalty kick was denied by Paige Miller.
However, they did make it that score at 25:52 when junior Ashley Gable stole the ball deep in the offensive space, made a 20-yard run down the gut and fired an 8-yarder into the left side.
Just 28 ticks later, Good got possession on the left side, made a long run toward the goal and went 12 yards to the right side for an 8-1 edge.
Jefferson made a foray into their offensive end and sophomore Kylee Haehn shot a 22-yarder that was denied by Osting.
The Wildcats, down to 13 players with two defections and an injury to Courtney Van Schoyk, had sophomore Adrie Miller shook up at the 20-minute mark but she did return 12 minutes later.
At 19:31, Jefferson junior Brooke Hesseling fired from 25 yards but was denied.
That became 9-1 at 18:37. Good fed a through ball to junior Jamie Saum, who made the run down the middle and went high to the left side from 12 yards.
The scoring closed at the 2-minute mark when Saum made a lead pass to Brandi Kaskel, who also made a run down the center and her 8-yarder found the left side of the twine.
“The girls are starting to understand the concepts we’re trying to teach,” Stober added. “We’re getting better at understanding passing, ball possession, making runs and communicating. We’re focusing on the fundamentals on a daily basis and you can see the improvement.”
Jefferson visits Crestview for a scheduled 5 p.m. start Thursday.
“We still have some things to improve on, especially our shot-taking,” Wagner added. “We’re striving to take better shots and we work on that. I’d also like for us to get healthy; we’ve got some injuries that will make us even deeper when they get back.”
Fort Jennings hosts Lincolnview 5 p.m. Thursday.