INDEPENDENCE–North scored the first goal for the first time in its last seven games in a 4-1 non-conference win at Independence on Saturday.
“It’s been a while since we’ve scored first, so we kind of had a chip on our shoulder,” said North coach Samantha Richter. “I’m really glad we broke that curse before going into the playoffs. Everything we’re doing now—we have two games left—is getting us playoff-ready.”
The Rangers came out fast and aggressive as they put a shot on goal within the first two minutes of the contest and controlled possession for most of the first half as they built a 2-0 lead.
Morgan Bell’s powerful right foot gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with 14:58 left in the first half. Michaela Herbert made it 2-0 seven minutes later.
“We moved the ball very well,” Richter said. “Sometimes you have days where you’re finishing, and it’s great, and sometimes it doesn’t fall the way you want it to. Credit to Independence’s keeper (Keely Sears). She was on top of a lot of shots. She’s a good keeper, but the way we moved the ball is great. I can’t wait to see them continue to build on it.”
Independence’s Casey Adams, who moved from defense to offense, cut the North lead in half when she broke away on a run down the left sideline and buried the ball in the net with 26:17 left in the game.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, an own goal gave North a 3-1 lead with 16:55 left in the game, and three minutes later, Maddie Flick scored her second goal of the season to close out the scoring.
North’s defense held off the Blue Devils down the stretch.
“Our team is anchored around the defense, and they’ve done an incredible job of rotating into any defensive position they’re in,” Richter said. “We can trust them, and they come out and do their job very well.”
With the win, the Rangers improved to 7-5-3 on the year with two regular season games remaining.
Independence dropped to 4-6-1, but a competitive game against a Division I opponent should help the Blue Devils prepare for the Division III playoffs.
“They were a solid team, one of the better ones we played this year,” said Independence coach Bryan Less of the Rangers. “They’re a Division I team and we’re Division III, and playing teams like that makes you better. It was 2-1 there for a minute and we just missed a breakaway that could have tied it, but then we had an own goal by a freshman. She was working hard, and she was in the right spot. I talked to her about that and let her know that those things happen.”
Despite the setback, Less was pleased with the effort from his Blue Devils.
“I thought we played a really strong game, especially in the second half,” he said. “There were about 20 minutes in the second half where we really took it to them and had some good chances. I liked the way we played.”