Minnewaska dropped a pair of games over the weekend, falling 4-2 to Willmar and 1-0 to Fergus Falls.
Willmar 4, Minnewaska 2
The Lakers struggled with Willmar’s offensive power, especially junior captain Cloe Donoho, who scored twice in the first half and again late in the second half for a hat trick.
Willmar’s goalkeeper, 8th grader Jordan Martins, was also a force as she stopped shots by Mariah Heieie and Kaylyn Oberg in the first 18 minutes of play.
Minnewaska defenders Meggie DeJong and Carina Zamora both kept Cardinal forwards from getting close in the final 20 minutes of the half, but Donoho was able to score with two minutes remaining.
The Card junior took a throw from a teammate near midfield, then sent a high floater toward the goal, which Laker sophomore keeper Jillian Hendrickson lost in the sun, allowing the ball to sail overhead into the net.
“That’s a tough goal to swallow,” said head coach Brian Heieie. “We kept them from taking any decent shots inside the 18, and then they beat us on a lucky shot like that.”
Minnewaska stepped up its game in the second half, dominating time of possession and shots on goal, and scored seven minutes in as Heieie connected for a goal on a cross pass from senior Ingrid Wahlquist.
Willmar scored four minutes later and Donoho hit the insurance goal with six minutes remaining.
Minnewaska added another goal by Heieie on an assist by Oberg.
Willmar outshot Minnewaska 13-12.
Fergus Falls 1,
Both teams played solid defense in this game, with the Lakers able to get off just three shots in the first half.
Fergus Falls was able to use the wind to get off 12 shots and five corner kicks, but Minnewaska’s defense held up for the first 35 minutes before the Otters got the only goal of the game on a loose ball scramble.
The Lakers were able to dominate offensively, outshooting Fergus Falls in the second half 10-2, but couldn’t get the ball in the net.
“We played well from end to end in both halves,” said the Laekr coach. “We were strong defensively and Meggie [DeJong] did a nice job filling in for Jillian [Hendrickson] today.
“We need to work on relaxing up front, finishing with more accuracy. We had great opportunities to tie this thing up, but struggled to put the ball in the back of the net.
“We’ve got a great nucleus of players, and we are still in the early season gelling process,” he added. “I’m excited with our prospects for this season. Once we get the bugs worked out, we’ll be much stronger.”
Minnewaska opens a run of four home games, beginning with the Chain of Lakes tomorrow, Thursday, at 11 a.m. at Minnewaska Area High School.