MORRIS – Apparently, the Morris girls soccer team doesn’t like to be behind on its own field.
Last week, Coal City took a 2-1 lead against the Redskins, only to see Morris tie the game back up in less than three minutes.
On Monday, in the first round of the Interstate 8 Conference tournament, Ottawa grabbed a 1-0 lead when Gabi Krueger found the back of the net with 37:18 to play in the first half. This time, it took less than a minute for Morris to tie it up, as Payton Lewis scored with 36:50 left in the first half.
Lewis’ goal sparked a run of six unanswered by Morris (8-3), who came away with the 6-1 win and will travel to Kaneland on Wednesday in further tourney action.
“I don’t know what it is,” Morris coach Steve Rain said. “We have a tendency to start a little flat until we – for lack of a better word – get punched in the mouth. Once that happens, then we get going.”
Morris got six goals from six players and used the corner kick to its advantage. The next three Morris goals were all off of corner kicks, initiated by Mackenzie Welch. Emilia Marino scored with 26:19 left in the first half, followed by Payton Kjellesvik at the 24:49 mark and Emma Aldrich at the 12:32 mark. Fran Cummings capped the first-half scoring with a goal at the 1:54 mark. Lauren Shear scored off an assist from Lewis for the second half’s only goal at the 34:59 mark.
“We have a lot of girls that can score,” Rain said. “We wanted to make them chase us tonight and wear them down. We also attacked the ball in the air well on our corner kicks instead of waiting for it to bounce.
“Mackenzie Welch was everywhere for us. She is a warrior and goes hard all the time. She has played all 80 minutes in all but one of our games.”
Ottawa coach Sean Porter was pleased with the start for his Pirates (3-8).
“Gabi Krueger is a strong competitor and one of our most productive players all year,” he said. “She took it to them and got us on the board.
“But their first five goals were all on a stoppage of some sort. There were three corner kicks, a throw-in and a goal kick. We had some mental lapses there, and you can’t do that against a sharp team like Morris. We played them to 1-0 in the second half, so we competed well and stayed competitive.”
Rain was happy that he was able to use the entire roster.
“A lot of subs got a lot of playing time,” he said. “They get some valuable experience and our starters can get some rest. And we don’t lose much when they come in. They are able to keep the tempo going.”