News Column

Chiefs pass the test

May 11, 2014

By Matt Levins, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa

May 11--Keokuk High School girls soccer coach Rex Muston was wondering how his team would respond with two key starters gone for a band performance.

The Chiefs gave him the answer he was looking for.

Senior captain Taylor Lemon scored her state-leading 25th goal of the season, Skyler Johnston scored off a long through ball from Brooke Wade, and senior goalkeeper Malorie Maerz pitched her seventh shutout of the season as Class 3A's 13th-ranked Keokuk came away with a 2-0 win over an injury-riddled Notre Dame-West Burlington/Danville team on Saturday morning at Tackleson Field.

Despite being two starters down, the Chiefs produced the result Muston was looking for.

"We're actually missing two of our main starters, one on defense and one on offense," Lemon said. "I knew our team has been playing so well this year that I trusted my team and the people that were coming in."

"It was big because two of our starters weren't here, so it was a challenge for other players coming off the bench," said Wade, who moved from forward to midfield. "I thought I had to play more defensive because one of our best defenders wasn't here today. Normally I play offense. In midfield you play both. So I played more defense today."

"It was huge because we have a lot of respect for their team and they've done quite well this year. We are really happy with the results," Muston said. "I thought today was a really good example of how well the team plays together."

ND-WB/D (8-3) controlled much of the play and got nine saves from goalkeeper Jayla Kreiss, but could generate very little offense. The Nikes managed just five shots in the match.

"We've got a lot of injuries right now. We're trying to fight through them. We have four players out with injuries, three of them are starters," ND-WB/D coach Todd Ackerman said. "Our defense did well and our midfield did well. Possession of the ball, I thought we dominated."

The Nikes got the first scoring opportunity in the second minute. Gabrielle Koelker sent a cross into the box for Christina Hunter, who boomed a shot to the left corner. But Maerz was Johnny-on-the-spot, making the early save.

"It's good for Malorie to get that kind of success. Last year we had so many close games. The defense has made her job a lot easier," Muston said.

Keokuk (10-1), which has won 10 straight matches, got on the scoreboard late in the half. Lemon made a run up the middle and tried to shoot from the box. But Kreiss came out and made the initial save. Lemon corralled the rebound and put it in the open net to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead.

"I was getting a little stressed because no one had scored yet. I was going down there like, 'We need this one.' I was trying hard for my team. It was for the team," Lemon said.

Johnston completed the scoring with 24 minutes left in the match, taking a long through ball from Wade and depositing it past Kreiss, who had come off her line.

"I knew she was up there. She is really fast, so I know she'll get it. I just kicked it up there for her and she went and got it," Wade said. "I try my hardest. I know I'm a leader on this team, so I tried to boost up my game today."

"I thought both of our strikers really took advantage of their opportunities. With their speed, it starts to wear down the defense a little bit," Muston said.

Keokuk will get its two missing starters back next week. For ND-WB/D it is all about survival while it waits for its walking wounded to return.

"I think it is a pretty big match. In the four years that I've been playing, it's always been we win, they win, we win, they win, we win. It's always hit or miss. I think this was a big confidence booster for us for the rest of the season," Lemon said.

"I can't say enough about how positive Meg (McGhghy) and I feel about how they did today. It was a big victory for us today," Muston said.

"I'm proud of the way the girls played. They played hard. They ran hard. They passed the ball well. We're just in an unlucky spell right now. But we'll turn it around. I think the girls are confident of that, too," Ackerman said.

Keokuk 2, ND-WB/Danville 0

Keokuk 1 1 -- 2

ND-WB/D 0 0 -- 0

Scoring summary

Keokuk -- 6:15 first half, Taylor Lemon unassisted. Keokuk -- 24:00 second half, Skyler Johnston from Brooke Wade.

Match statistics


Shots 18 5

Saves 2 9

Fouls 10 5

Offsides 4 1

Free kicks 6 14

Corner kicks 7 3

Penalty kicks 0 0

Goal kicks 15 21

Yellow cards 0 0

Red cards 0 0

Records: Keokuk 10-1, Notre Dame-West Burlington/Danville 8-3.


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Source: Hawk Eye, The (Burlington, IA)

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