COTTAGE GROVE — Eight different players collected a point as part of a balanced attack for the Stillwater girls soccer team in a 5-0 Suburban East Conference victory over the Wolfpack on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at Park High School.
It was the conference opener for the second-ranked Ponies (1-0 SEC, 6-0), who have yet to allow a goal while outscoring opponents by a combined 21-0. That strong start is even more impressive when you consider the number of freshmen playing significant minutes and that four of those victories have come against teams ranked among the top 10 in Class AAA.
“If you had asked me over the summer if we’d be 6-0 and not given up any goals against the competition we’ve played, I would have said no way,” Ponies coach Mike Huber said. “We’ll keep riding the wave and keep using our nine lives.”
It was the second game in as many nights for Stillwater, but Grace Schwoch started the scoring against the with an assist from Luka Johnson in the 13th minute. Izzy de St. Aubin pushed the lead to 2-0 with three minutes left in the first half on an assist from freshman Bianca Eide.
“I think we came out looking a little tired after (Tuesday’s) big game, which took a little bit of energy out of us,” Huber said. “We came out a little flat and weren’t as sharp as we have been. We talked about it at halftime and they had to pick up the pace in the second half, which they day.”
Freshman Rylee Lawrence scored in the opening minute of the second half Alayna Muths, another freshman, extended the lead to 4-0 with a goal in the 53rd minute. Senior Ruth Swett closed out the scoring midway through the second half.
“It’s good to see,” Huber said. “Our leading scorers have been Luka and Brooke (Nelson) so to have five new faces in there is great. We’re going to need to get goals from other places this year so that was a positive thing.”
Parker Reardon finished with one save to help keep Stillwater’s season-long shutout streak going.
Stillwater 2 3 — 5
Park 0 0 — 0
St — 13:00 — Grace Schwoch (Luka Johnson)
St — 37:00 — Izzy de St. Aubin (Bianca Eide)
St — 41:00 — Rylee Lawrence (unassisted)
St — 53:00 — Alayna Muths (unassisted)
St — 60:00 — Ruth Swett (Lauren Willhaus)
Shots on goal — St: 12; Par: 1.
Corner kicks — St: 3; Par: 0.
Fouls — St: 7; Par: 5.
Goalie saves — St: Parker Reardon 1; Par: NA 7.
Stillwater 2, Rosemount 0
At Oak Park Heights, it was a match-up between the top two ranked teams in Class AAA and an early goal helped spark the Ponies to a 2-0 nonconference victory over No. 1-ranked and previously undefeated Rosemount on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Stillwater Area High School.
Neither team had allowed a goal coming into the game, but the Ponies struck quickly as Brooke Nelson scored just two minutes into the game on an assist from Lauren Willhaus. Nelson did most of the work after taking the pass and cutting across the middle before firing a shot into the upper right corner of the net from more than 20 yards out.
“It was a great hit,” Huber said. “To score that early goal, it just puts the other team on their heels a little bit and for us it was a good boost of energy.”
Rosemount (5-1-0) features a veteran team and the Irish responded as expected, but freshman goalkeeper Reese Elzen was up to the task while making 11 saves for the Ponies.
“As the half wore on, they started taking it to us for a while,” Huber said. “Scoring that first goal was huge. They still had some chances to score, but Reese did a very good job in goal and saved us a couple of times.”
The Ponies added an insurance goal from Rylee Lawrence with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
“Overall, they were the better team,” Huber said. “Four years ago they were in the same boat we were with four or five freshmen starting. We have to grind out games this year and that’s what we did.”
The coach said his team has sometimes been outplayed, but not outworked.
“We won’t give up and will keep working,” Huber said. “Obviously that’s a big win for us against the No. 1 team in the state. We were the first team to score against them and it was their first loss. For us to post a shutout against a team like that shows a little bit of luck, but a lot of determination, too.”
Rosemount 0 0 — 0
Stillwater 1 1 — 2
St — 2:00 — Brooke Nelson (Lauren Willhaus)
St — 70:00 — Rylee Lawrence (unassisted)
Shots on goal — Ros: 11; St: 6.
Corner kicks — Ros: 4; St: 3.
Fouls — Ros: 6; St: 4.
Goalie saves — Ros: Jordan Hecht 4; St: Reese Elzen 11.
Stillwater 2, L. North 0
Another strong start paved the way as the Ponies dispatched ninth-ranked Lakeville North 2-0 in a nonconference game on Thursday, Sept. 1 at SAHS.
Alayna Muths scored an unassisted goal in the 14th minute and Luka Johnson scored again for the Ponies just four minutes later to provide a two-goal edge.
“Those early starts, we always talk about that term twilight, and obviously it’s a time to take advantage of other teams’ mistakes,” Huber said. “We had more opportunities to score, but couldn’t finish on some of them. That game was coming off the (second-ranked) Edina game and physically and emotionally Edina took a bit out of us. We weren’t quite as sharp coming off that big win, but just like the other games we just kind of grinded it out.”
It was all the goal support needed as Parker Reardon turned away five shots to earn the shutout.
“Parker had some good saves to keep it zero,” Huber said. “Defensively we’re holding up and probably getting a little lucky at times, but also stepping up and clearing the ball when they need to.”
Lakeville North 0 0 — 0
Stillwater 2 0 — 2
St — 14:00 — Alayna Muths (unassisted)
St — 18:00 — Luka Johnson (Brooke Nelson)
Shots on goal — LN: 5; St: 9.
Corner kicks — LN: 6; St: 4.
Fouls — LN: 5; St: 3.
Goalie saves — LN: NA 7; St: Parker Reardon 5.