The Rhinelander High School girls' soccer team bounced back from a one-goal loss to Ashland on Tuesday, and score four goals in the final 16 minutes of the match to defeat Wausau Newman 4-0 on the road on Thursday evening.
The Hodags saw a number of different lineup changes throughout the night in preparation for the playoffs but struggled putting shots on frame despite taking 44 shots. RHS only put 18 of those on frame including their four goals of the night and controlled the tempo of the game.
Senior Maddie Meyer finally put Rhinelander on the board in the 75th minute of action. Fellow senior Alayna Franson had well-placed cross and Meyer was there to finish just inside the right goal post.
Meyer's goals sparked a late run for the Hodags, who would go on to score three more goals before time expired. Senior Anna Sturzl scored five minutes later to give RHS a 2-0 advantage.
Franson charted another assist in the 82nd minute when she found Ella Schiek inside the 18-yard box. Schiek connected near the penalty spot to put the Hodags ahead 3-0. And Rhinelander's final goal of the night was Franson, who drilled a shot from about 20-yards back in the final minute of action.
Senior goalie Jada Appling earned the win in 90 minutes of action, and Rhinelander would cash in on their eighth shutout victory of the year.
The Hodags will host a triangular meet on Saturday at the Hanson Lake Soccer Complex. First RHS will face New Richmond at 9:30AM and then will take on Pulaski at 3:30PM.
Looking at the conference race, Ashland clenched a share of the Great Northern Conference title after earning an 8-0 win against Medford. The Oredockers can win the title outright if they can secure a win on the road against Newman on Thursday evening.
Rhinelander will close out their conference schedule on Thursday when they host Antigo at the RHS soccer field starting at 6:00PM
The Rhinelander High School girls' soccer team suffered their first Great Northern Conference this season when Ashland upset the Hodags 1-0 on Tuesday at the RHS Soccer Fields. The Oredockers advanced to 5-0 in the conference and RHS now sits at 4-1.
Kaylee McPeak's goal in the 21st minute proved to enough to get past Rhinelander. Ashland also snapped the Hodags' GNC winning streak back in 2016, although this time the conference title may have been jeopardized.
McPeak leads the conference in individual goals this season and was held in check but capitalized on a lapse in Rhinelander's defense. The match proved to be evenly match and stats were nearly identical on the night. RHS put eight of their 17 shots on frame while the Oredockers put nine of their 16 on goal.
On a corner kick in the 13th minute of action, Ashland's Sam Stegman had a quality look at the net off a corner but freshman keeper Kahlie Arneson was there for the save in her first night back after missing several games. Ashland controlled the tempo in the first half and continued to find looks.
In the 21st minute, McPeak dribbled by defender Madi Losch and shot the ball just inside the 18-yard box and finished to the bottom left corner which would prove to be enough to win the match.
Arneson finished with seven saves including several notable diving saves. But unfortunately, on her last save in the 67th minute as she dove on the ball in the goalie box, Alex Pieterek tried to avoid contact and go over Arneson but tripped and appeared to knee Arneson in the head, and she was unable to finish the match. Senior Jada Appling replaced Arneson and did not allow a goal and had two saves.
Just a minute after the collision, Rhinelander attacked offensively and continued to find looks at the goal, but shots were either high and wide or right at goalie Kaityln Zinnecker. Anna Sturzl missed a shot just above the top right corner in the 68th minute and minutes later Alayna Franson drilled a shot that Zinnecker blocked but no Hodags were there to crash the rebound and an Ashland defender cleared the ball.
Izzy Haverkampf also had an open look just inside the 18 that hit off the top of the cross bar. With about six minutes remaining, freshman Marissa Martin sent Sturzl to the corner. Sturzl had a well-placed cross inside the box but Kenedy Van Zile's shot missed to the bottom left. With under five minutes to play Sturzl once again sent a nice cross but there were no Rhinelander attackers at the back post to get a foot on the ball.
The Hodags had several last-minute scrambles attempts but came up empty handed including their final shot from defender Gwen Lowry. Although Rhinelander still had a shot at their seventh straight GNC title, there are only two remaining conference matches for both teams. The Hodags face Newman Catholic Thursday and then will host Antigo next Thursday. RHS will not get much of a rest and will host New Richmond and Pulaski on Saturday at the Hanson Lake Soccer Complex.
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