Muskie squads clip Owls’ wings

Joey Payeur

It looks like all systems go and they’ve barely left the starting gate.
The Muskie boys’ soccer team looked every bit the four-time defending NorWOSSA champion it is in blanking the Rainy River Owls 6-0 in an exhibition scrimmage here Monday.
“For an opening game, things looked pretty good from front to back and from young to old,” said Muskie head coach Shane Beckett.
“There’s some things to work on but considering it’s April, it was pretty good.”
Ian Jodoin and Kevin Metke, who scored identical goals off the right-wing from 15 yards out in the second half, matched each other with two goals apiece to pace the black-and-gold.
Joey Angus and Aaron Kavanaugh netted the other goals while starting keeper Gavin Richardson and back-up Cole Kowalski shared the shutout, with each playing one half.
“I like that they applied what we have been working on the last couple of weeks,” noted Beckett.
“Their movement off the ball, their communication, their triangles off the ball were all good.
“Defensively, we worked on being good as the initial defender, and we were good from the Grade 9s up to the Grade 12s,” he added.
The teams took part in a spontaneous penalty kick shootout after the final whistle for extra practice.
“You don’t get an opportunity that often to do this when the season isn’t on the line,” Beckett remarked.
“It’s good to be able to rehearse it a bit.”
The Muskies head to Winnipeg for a tournament this weekend, with Fort High in the same pool as the St. John’s-Ravenscourt Eagles and St. Paul’s Crusaders.
“It’s a pretty good pool to be in because I think we’ll be evenly matched with both teams,” Beckett predicted.
“The weather the last couple of years has meant we haven’t gone,” he added.
“It will be interesting to see where the team is, what we need to work on, and where guys slot in on the field.”
The Muskies will make the trip with a newly-reduced roster of 26 as veterans Jacob Bolzan and Spencer Shortreed no longer are with the team.
And veteran keeper Ben Whitburn, recently returning to the area after living in Alberta this past year, won’t be rejoining the squad.
In girls’ action Monday, the Muskies shook off an early setback to earn a 4-1 win over the visiting Owls.
“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to play a pre-season game,” said Muskie coach Sarah Faragher.
“Our focus going into the game was just to get everyone on the pitch and to try people out in various positions,” she noted.
“We started a bit uncertain but then we began to better control our possession and even scored a few goals,” Faragher added.
“I think it got everyone pumped up for the upcoming season.”
Rebecca Barker chipped one home to give the underdog Owls a lead seven minutes into the game.
But Fort High began carrying the play and netted the equalizer in the 25th minute when Ashley Croswell’s bouncing shot from 15 yards out skipped past Owls’ keeper Meghan Woolsey.
Taylor Croswell then netted one from the doorstep in the 35th minute to put the Muskies up 2-1.
Maggie Jean made her presence felt in the second half—scoring from a difficult angle at the right side of the net.
Myla Angus capped the scoring when she intercepted a clearing attempt from the Owls’ back-up keeper, took one stride, and then rocketed a shot into the lower left corner.
Both Muskie teams open the NorWOSSA regular season here next Wednesday (May 6) against the Kenora Broncos and Dryden Eagles.