Douglas girls shut out McQueen | RecordCourier.com
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Douglas girls shut out McQueen

by Chuck Smock

With three returning starters to replace on the back line, Douglas coach Fred Schmidt and the Tigers have been concentrating on defense early in the season.

The hard work was apparent in a 2-0 win over McQueen on Saturday in the first game of the Northern 4A schedule.

Douglas dominated from the opening kickoff, but couldn’t relax until late in the second half despite creating more than two dozen scoring opportunities.

Sarah Shearer got the game-winner on a penalty kick five minutes into the game. Julia Spaulding started the play when, with her back to the goal, she bicycled the ball into the box to a sprinting Abby Aldrich. A McQueen defender saw the play unfolding and decided the only way to halt the run was by playing the ball with her arm.

In the second half, the Tigers ended a series of three corner kicks with a picture-perfect goal. Shearer lofted a high ball from the right side and Spaulding volleyed the ball out of the air into the back of the net.

Shearer twisted her ankle late in the contest and had to come out of the game. Schmidt said he expected Shearer to play only about 15 minutes Tuesday against Hug to be sure she is healthy for Thursday’s road game at Carson.

Mariah Weigel, the lone returning starter, Kristie Gearty and Jessica Girdner all played extensive minutes on defense. Stephanie Haws and Erin Warrell each contributed to the shutout with strong play at the stopper position.

“I was real proud of the defense because that is what we worked on and that’s what showed up in the game,” Schmidt said. “A lot of these girls are playing together for the first time. I was really impressed with the way they played as a team.”

While obviously pleased with the shutout, Schmidt said some of the focus in practice this week will shift to the offensive end of the field. The Tigers managed 14 shots on goal against the Lancers, hit the post three times and sent several balls sailing over the crossbar.

“After the second goal, we settled down and started to do some good, quality passing,” he said. “We’ll be working on shooting and finishing this week. Against Carson, there’s not going to be 30 shots. If you get 10 shots against Carson, you still want to make two of them.”

Schmidt started three sophomores and a freshman against McQueen. With two returning starters ineligible because injuries have limited their practice time, the Tigers had only 16 players in uniform against the Lancers.

“A coach’s dream is that you have 18 players all capable of playing varsity-level soccer,” Schmidt said. “The nightmare is trying to be fair and make sure they all get adequate playing time.”

All 16 eligible Tigers played against McQueen.

“And they all made a contribution at some point,” the coach added.

Goalkeeper Ashley Sulprizio made a few plays at the top of the box, but wasn’t forced to make a save in front of the net.

Freshman Terran Hadlock impressed her coach with her versatility. She played on the wing, at midfield and at fullback.

“She’s definitely going to be a starter,” Schmidt said.

Douglas JV 4, McQueen 1

Freshman Tracey Hawks made her high school soccer debut in impressive fashion by scoring three goals to help the Douglas junior varsity to a 4-1 victory over McQueen.

Freshman Rebecca Wallstrum drilled a shot from 25 yards to complete the scoring in the season-opener for both teams.

Goalkeeper Mallory Moore goalkeeper played an outstanding game, according to Schmidt. The only goal she allowed came on a penalty kick. She stopped the initial attempt, but the rebound went back to the shooter and she put the ball in the net.