While the regular season may not have ended the way they hoped, don’t think the Muskie girls’ soccer team isn’t eager to rectify that in the playoffs.
A 2-1 loss to the Dryden Eagles last Wednesday morning, followed by a scoreless draw against the host Kenora Broncos, left the Muskies in third place in the three-team league with 1-4-1 record.
That set up this morning’s NorWOSSA semi-final showdown here with Kenora, with the winner then to face the Eagles, who earned the bye to the final by virtue of their first-place finish.
Muskie head coach Sara Roach believed success today was a realistic goal for her squad to achieve if they battled hard enough.
“I think it’s really anyone’s game at this point,” she remarked. “Dryden beat us, Kenora beat Dryden, and then we split with Kenora.
“It’ll just come down to who wants it more,” she reasoned. “And I think the girls are hungry for that win.”
Roach has been pleased with how her young squad steadily has improved this season and feels they should be proud of their efforts.
“I think overall the team has made leaps and bounds, and they have improved so much,” she lauded.
“The majority of the team are girls that are in Grade 9 so to be playing against teams that have more senior players, and holding their own playing them, I think is a huge accomplishment and something they should all be really proud of.”
As for last Wednesday’s games in Kenora, Pasquel Shortreed netted the team’s lone goal in the loss to the Eagles.
Roach believes her squad performed well for the most part but ran out of gas against Kenora due to the conditions.
“I think the girls were worn out,” she conceded. “They had an hour in between games and it was so hot out, they just didn’t have anything left in the tank.
“It’s tough to watch all the work being done from the defence line up to the midfield and then not even getting a shot on net,” she added.
“The girls need to create more opportunities for the strikers, either chipping it into the box or sending through balls where it’s just a foot race, and we have some fast players up top that I think would win that race,” Roach stressed.
The scoreless draw with Kenora was more disappointing given how well Roach thought the Muskies had played against Dryden.
“The girls created more opportunities than they have in any game they’ve played this season,” she recalled.
“Dryden has one really good player that creates most of their plays and can score from 10 yards out of the 18-yard box.
“I think if we take her out of the equation, that will shut down their offence,” Roach predicted.
The winner of today’s NorWOSSA final will advance to the OFSAA ‘AA’ championships slated for June 7-9 in Windsor.