Spartans blank Amery in home opener, 1-0Gotelaere’s goal helps SHS improve to 2-2
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
The Superior High School girls soccer team is still on track to reach its ultimate goal for the season — a conference championship.
The Spartans improved to 2-0 in the Middle Border Conference and 2-2 overall Tuesday with a 1-0 victory over the Amery Warriors.
Superior scored the lone goal of the game in the 14th minute of the second half when Morgan Kubarek took the ball up the right side and booted a clean pass to Allison Gotelaere in the middle.
“They learned in the first half and they executed in the second half,” said Len Albrecht, head coach of the Spartans. “I told them in the first half, they were trying but they weren’t executing.”
Superior played like a different team from the first half to the second half, Albrecht said. The Spartans struggled to control the ball in the first half and allowed Amery’s Ashley Waalen half a dozen breakaway attempts.
“They were playing flat and sloppy in the first half, and they knew it,” Albrecht said. “They were playing kickball; they weren’t playing soccer.”
Superior’s best chance to score in the first half came on a corner kick in the ninth minute. Amber Holt took the corner for the Spartans and got the ball up high, but Kelsey Hansen’s header went just over the crossbar.
The Spartans tried for a few breakaways later in the half but were foiled by Amery’s goalie, who was fast on her feet and readily came out of the box.
“Our through balls were too deep, so she was coming out to get them. We couldn’t beat her to it,” Albrecht said.
In the second half, Superior made adjustments on offense and switched up its defense to contain Amery’s speedy forward, Waalen.
“Instead of playing the ball up the middle, because they had a very active goalie, we made some adjustments to move the ball more to outside for the crosses so we could get the pressure up the middle,” Albrecht said. “It seemed to work. It worked a lot better in the second half than it did in the first half.”
On defense, Catie Albrecht was moved up in the formation to control Waalen.
“She had a lot more shots in the first half,” Len Albrecht said of Waalen. “We moved (Catie) up to more or less stay behind her and just mark her as the stopper.”
The two teams battled to a draw for the first seven minutes of the second half, but at the 33-minute mark the momentum began to shift to Superior. The Spartans got off two good shot in the span of two minutes, but Amery came up with the stop both times.
SHS goalie Sara Balcer then made a save on the other end nine minutes into play, and Superior went on the attack until Gotelaere scored at 26:23 with an assist from Kubarek.
At 19:15 Balcer made another key save on a strong shot by Waalen, and a second shot four minutes later went high over the net.
Superior closed out the final 10 minutes of play by trading shots with Amery. The Warriors’ final attempt came with 55 seconds to play, when Kristin Isakson went for a long shot but as off the mark. Catie Albrecht followed by breaking up a pass and sending the ball downfield with 16 seconds to play, and Amery was not able to regroup in time for another shot on goal.
“In the second half they all played really hard,” Len Albrecht said. “They played as a team, as a unit. Sara did a nice job in goal with some really nice saves, but it was a team effort in that second half.”
The Spartans will be back in action Thursday when they host Somerset at 4:30 p.m. at the SHS soccer fields.
SPARTAN SPIN: Superior opened its season Thursday with a 4-1 win at Baldwin-Woodville. Amber Holt scored twice, and Kaley Buhr and Morgan Kuberek each scored once for the Spartans. … At the Chippewa Falls Quad on Saturday, the Spartans fell to Chippewa Falls 6-1 and Eau Claire North 1-0. Against Chippewa Falls, the Spartans trailed 2-1 at halftime before giving up four goals late in the game. Allison Gotelaere scored at 29:45 of the first half with an assist from Kelsey Reder.