Wayzata's Lily Gilbertson (2) fights her way past Eden Prairie defender Kirsten Dagel on her way to one of her three first-half goals in the No. 1-ranked Trojans' 6-0 victory. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Wayzata has worked a lot on winning 50-50 balls in the air, according to forwards Lily Gilbertson and Marissa Kalkar.
That work appeared to pay off Tuesday in a 6-0 win over Lake Conference rival Eden Prairie.
Gilbertson and Kalkar each scored three goals in the first half, as the Trojans, ranked No. 1 in the latest Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaching Association Class 2A poll, improved to 6-0-1 in their first home game in two weeks.
"I think a big part of this win was winning every ball in the air," Gilbertson said. "Our midfielders really got in there and got to pretty much every ball."
"They set up the forwards for everything," she added.
Kalkar, Wayzata's leading scorer, scored the Trojans' first goal 7:40 into the game, assisted by Emily Dillson. Gilbertson scored 48 seconds later, tapping in a ball that Kalkar headed forward. The two alternated goals for the rest of the first half before a scoreless second half.
Longtime Wayzata coach Tony Peszneker said the game was one of the team's best in many years. He wasn't sure if the team had beaten Eden Prairie by that much since the early '90s.
"It just seems like everything we were doing today when we were shooting was finding the back of the net," said Peszneker, who is in his 28th season. "... Overall, you have to be pleased with that performance."
Every player on the Wayzata roster saw playing time Tuesday, save for top midfielder Addie Clark. The senior, who has committed to West Virginia and was named a preseason All-American, according to Peszneker, hasn't played this year because of mono, he said.
Gilbertson had been playing at midfield in previous games but played her first game at forward Tuesday. It's a position she'll likely be playing throughout the season, Peszneker said.
"Her and Marissa just have a good understanding with each other," he said. "... You know that [six goals] is not going to happen every single game, but it was certainly nice watching them play today."
Peszneker said early indications are positive for his team, which is a perennial contender for a state title. It's allowed just one goal in seven games, which came on what Peszneker said was a mistake. However, he pointed out that Maple Grove and Edina, two other top teams, have also hardly allowed any goals.
"Those are tough teams to play that we will be battling with down the stretch," he said.
Tuesday's win was Wayzata's second in its past three games vs. Eden Prairie. The Trojans beat and tied the Eagles last season on their way to an 11-2-2 record. They lost 1-0 to the Eagles in the 2015 state tournament.
The team graduated top scorer Morgan Turner after last season.
"Morgan’s definitely not replaceable, but we’ve really done a good job picking it up," Kalkar said.
Wayzata launched 12 shots on goal Tuesday, including nine in the first half. The team held Eden Prairie (1-3-1) to just three shots on goal.
Eagles coach Jessica Mueller praised her squad for playing Wayzata to a draw in the second half. She appeared to appreciate the chance for her team to see how it compared to one of the best teams in the state.
"So if that’s the goal, to be competing for the state championship, … we have to be able to play at that level," she said.
Mueller is in her second year and has a squad with about a dozen seniors on it. She said a strength of her team is trying to possess the ball and move it, something that was exposed Tuesday.
Wayzata's Marissa Kalkar heads the ball over Eden Prairie's Kirsten Dagel toward teammate Lily Gilbertson. Kalkar and Gilbertson each scored three goals for the Trojans. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Forwards Lily Gilbertson and Marissa Kalkar notched first-half hat tricks, as top-ranked Wayzata defeated Lake Conference rival Eden Prairie 6-0 on Tuesday.
Wayzata, ranked No. 1 in the Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches Association poll, put 12 shots on goal, including nine in the first half. The team improved to 6-0-1 with the win, their third consecutive since a 0-0 tie with Edina on Sept. 5.
Kalkar and Gilbertson entered the game with 10 and six goals, respectively. Kalkar scored the team's first goal on Tuesday, assisted by Emily Dillon, and the two alternated goals for the rest of the half.
The Trojans have allowed just one goal this season.
Eden Prairie (1-3-1) had three shots on goal.