Stillwater forward Marisa Bonilla (9) battles with White Bear Lake defender Paige Swanson in the Bears' zone during the second half. Bonilla scored in the game's first goal. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
It wasn't much of a look. In fact, Marisa Bonilla didn't even have enough time to put her strong foot on the ball.
But it was enough for the 2020 Class 2A All-State forward to loft a high-arching shot from 20 yards out into the White Bear Lake goal and propel Stillwater to its fifth consecutive victory, a 2-0 decision over the Suburban East Conference rival Bears.
The Ponies (7-2, 4-0), ranked sixth in the Sept. 19 Class 3A coaches' poll, claimed sole possession of first place in the conference while No. 9-3A White Bear Lake (7-4, 3-1), losing consecutive games for the first time this season, fell into a three-way tie for second with Cretin-Derham Hall and Mounds View.
“[The ball] was just bouncing around out there ... and I just ran up and hit it off my left foot," Bonilla said of her first-half goal, her seventh of the season.
Stillwater midfielder Amelia Bartosh (10) lofts a shot from 20 yards out that found the back of the White Bear Lake goal for a 2-0 Ponies lead. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Marisa Bonilla found a loose ball 20 yards in front of the White Bear Lake goal, put a left foot on it and lofted it into the back of the net to give Stillwater a 1-0 lead just under 11 minutes into the game. It was all the Ponies, ranked sixth in the Sept. 19 Class 3A coaches' poll, needed in a 2-0 victory at White Bear Lake.
The Ponies (7-2, 4-0) have not given up a goal since Sept. 8, a 2-1 loss at Edina. No. 9-3A White Bear Lake (7-4, 3-1) wasn't able to put much pressure on the Stillwater goal and lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
The teams entered the game tied atop the conference standings. Stillwater now stands alone atop the league standings while the Bears fell into a second-place tie with Cretin-Derham Hall and Mounds View. The Ponies are the defending conference and Section 4 champions.
Senior midfielder Amelia Bartosh scored on another high-arching shot from 20 yards less than seven minutes into the second half to secure the Stillwater victory.
White Bear Lake defender Kendall Craigan (21) takes the ball away from Stillwater's Brooke Nelson (14) in the second half. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine