The Rhinelander High School girls' soccer team advanced to 3-0 in the Great Northern Conference after shutting out Northland Pines on the road on Tuesday night. The Hodags charted back-to-back goals starting in the 11th minute and added one more in the second half to earn a 3-0 win over the Eagles and also marked their fifth straight shutout.
The Hodags gained possession early in the match and got on the board first in the 11th minute of action. Freshman Marissa Martin crashed a rebound on a Hodag shot that was originally denied by Northland Pine's goalie Hadley Kruse. But the ball deflected out and fellow freshman Ella Schiek was on the backside just to the side the 18-yard box and connected to the top left corner.
Rhinelander used that momentum to strike again, just 26 seconds later. This time the Eagles defense was called for holding in the box, resulting in a penalty kick. Senior Anna Sturzl converted the kick to the bottom left corner to give RHS a 2-0 lead in the opening 12 minutes.
Despite the early scoring, the Hodags produced quality looks at the net to finish the first-half, but several of their shots either went over the cross bar, wide, or were directly at Kruse. The same was true for the second-half where the Eagles proved to have some quality chances to score, and RHS only converted on one shot.
The Hodags added their final goal of the night in the 59th minute when senior Alayna Franson took advantage of a direct kick after she was tripped by an Eagles defender. Franson connected on the kick from 20-yards back to the top left corner. It also was enough cushion for Rhinelander the rest of the match.
Senior keeper Jada Appling played all 90 minutes in the net and earned the shutout win. The Eagles recorded eight total shots and Appling was credited for four saves on the night.
Rhinelander's defense anchored by junior Brook Mork and freshman Gwyn Lowry along with Appling made several notable saves and defensive stops throughout the night.
In the 54th minute, Madalyn Romatowski of Pines had a hard-kicked shot with a nice stop by Appling. The Eagles just two minutes later had back-to-back quality looks, this time it was Lauren Grosskopf who struck. But one of her shots tip out off the top right corner of the cross bar and other missed high.
And with just over five minutes left in the match, Appling pushed out just inside the 18-yard box to beat out a loose ball, but Grosskopf got passed. With a potential empty net situation, Mork was there for backup and cleared the ball out of bounds.
On the night Rhinelander held a 36-8 advantage on total shots and 17-4 edge on shots on goal. RHS remains undefeated in the GNC and are now 5-2 overall this season.
The Hodags will have a busy schedule the rest of the week and weekend. First RHS will host Mosinee on Thursday at 6:00PM at the RHS soccer fields. And on Friday they will travel to Weston to face Appleton North and will finish out the week Saturday against Chippewa Falls that will be played at the D.C. Everest Soccer Complex.