Muskie girls out to slake scoring drought

Dan Falloon

The opening of the 2010 season hasn’t exactly been kind to the Muskie girls’ soccer team.
After five games of NorWOSSA and tournament action, the black-and-gold has yet to record a win.
They were looking to change that today (May 12) as NorWOSSA regular-season action resumed in Dryden against both the host Eagles and Kenora Broncos.
After dropping a 2-0 decision to the Broncos and playing the Eagles to a scoreless draw to open the NorWOSSA season here last Wednesday, Fort High hoped to get on the right track at the annual St. John’s-Ravenscourt tournament in Winnipeg over the weekend.
“I don’t think we’re in the position we wanted to be after last week, with a tie and a loss,” admitted head coach Sarah Noonan.
“We really focused on improving over the weekend, getting players on the field, getting game experience,” she noted.
“I’m figuring out my top 11 at the same time so that we can go into this week and maybe get a couple of wins, or get better results anyway.”
Fort High lost all three of their matches in Winnipeg, including 9-0 to eventual champ River East, 2-0 to Vincent Massey, and 4-1 to Glenlawn, but Noonan felt her squad generally played better against some quality opponents.
Courtney Roach netted the Muskies’ lone tally of the weekend.
“We were doing a better job of passing, better than we did last week in our league games, and now it’s a matter of putting the ball in the net,” said Noonan.
“We only scored one goal this past weekend. That’s definitely a focus for us,” she stressed.
Also of importance to the Muskies was just getting in some valuable playing time.
With the three games over the weekend, the black-and-gold doubled its game action in the span of 48 hours, allowing veterans to shake off the rust and rookies to figure out the level of competition.
“Getting every player on the field allowed young players to gather game experience and confidence,” Noonan remarked.
“Also, tournament play allowed me to experiment a little with players in different positions to try and find our strongest combination.
“Playing the top provincial teams in Manitoba was a great learning experience for our girls, and I hope they transfer that experience into league play,” she added.
Noonan felt there were a number of other areas where her squad also must improve, and those primarily include ball skills.
“This weekend, we were better in the system that we play on the field, but we just need to work on service, getting the ball in, crossing and shooting, finishing the ball,” she remarked.
While Noonan felt Fort High played a strong possession game against Dryden, and even hemmed Kenora in their own zone for portions of that game last Wednesday, hanging onto the ball was another department red-flagged for attention.
“In our NorWOSSA game against Kenora last week, we didn’t play our Muskie game,” she noted.
“We didn’t have the first touch and possession that we wanted to, so that was another area we worked on in Winnipeg.”
Ultimately, Noonan felt last weekend was crucial experience for Fort High, but the key to jetting up the NorWOSSA standings is going to come down to finding a way to put the ball in the net—something the team was unable to do in the first week of league play.
“Our focus this week in practice is service from the flanks and finishing,” she said.
“We need to score goals to win games, and I’m looking forward to a stronger Muskie team in Dryden on Wednesday,” she added.