Mahtomedi struck first blood against Hill-Murray on Wednesday with a pair of first-half goals. From there, the Zephyrs cruised to a 2-0 win over the Pioneers.
The win was Mahtomedi’s (9-2, 4-0) seventh consecutive victory. The 2-0 shoutout is the team’s fourth during the win streak.
“We were playing passive before we won,” said Zephyrs coach David Wald.
The visiting Zephyrs put the pressure on Hill-Murray (7-3-1, 3-1) early in the first half. The Pioneers found themselves on the defensive side of the field for much of the half.
“The first half, we were a little bit nervous,” Hill-Murray coach Simbo Ndiaye said. “It was about the things we weren’t doing.”
In the fifth minute, Mahtomedi’s pressure turned into a goal. A favorable bounce left Zephyr senior forward Katelyn Buelke alone with the keeper and Buelke headed the ball past and into the net to make it 1-0.
In the 20th minute, the Zephyrs, ranked No. 2 in the latest Class 2A coaches’ poll, added to their lead when Aynslea Ulschmid fired a hard shot into the net to double the team’s lead.
“We want to be aggressive,” Wald said. “We want to play fast and put pressure on the defense.”
Even with a two-goal cushion, Mahtomedi’s staunch defensive effort made life difficult for the No. 3-2A Pioneers in the first half. However, Hill-Murray did put pressure on the Zephyrs, which left the Pioneers feeling a little better about a future matchup.
“We played their game the first half,” Pioneer senior defender Lucy Zupfer said. “If we play our game like we did in the second half in sections, it will be a lot better.”
The win by Mahtomedi will most likely impact the upcoming Class 2A, Section 4 tournament. The Zephyrs are the defending section champions.
“It’s huge for us to win,” Wald said. “It’s a big deal playing on our turf. The ball rolls fast on our turf, and we’re used to that.”
MN Soccer Hub polls are for entertainment purposes only.