The Rhinelander High School girls' soccer team bounced back after a pair tough non-conference opening matches to earn a win against Northland Pines in their Great Northern Conference opener. The Hodags used goals from senior Jaden Olski and junior Kenedy Van Zile as well as an own-goal to defeat the Eagles 3-0 on Tuesday night at Mike Webster Stadium.
After not scoring in their first two contests, the Hodags controlled a majority of the tempo and were able to find the back of the net twice on their own, and their defensive pressure aided in an own goal in the second half. RHS also did not have starting junior defender Madi Losch on the night and were without senior starting defender Payton Van Zile in the second half after an injury.
Rhinelander had several early opportunities on goal in the first half including a few shots right at sophomore goalie McKenzie Mayo but were unable to capitalize until late in the first half. In the 42nd minute junior Izzy Haverkampf dropped a pass to Olski who fired from about 35-yards back and connected to the top right corner to put the Hodags on the board just prior to halftime.
In the second half most of Rhinelander's offensive chances came later, but they continued to turn the pressure up defensively. The Hodags top line forced the Eagles defense to drop a pass back to Mayo, and in an attempt to clear, Mayo misjudged the pass as it slow crossed the goal line before it could be saved. The mistake gave the Hodags extra cushion down the stretch.
The Hodags defense kept Pines in check throughout the night and only allowed three total shots. One of those attempts came in the 61st minute when freshman Samantha Haiduk got past Rhinelander's defense and fired just left of the penalty kick area. But sophomore Kahlie Arneson dove and blocked the ball outside the left post to force a corner kick.
Rhinelander continued to find opportunities, but several shots missed wide and high. In the 78th minute, RHS would record their final goal of the night off a corner kick. Sophomore Ella Schiek took the corner where senior Brooke Mork was on the receiving end, and flicked a pass back to Kenedy Van Zile, who had a well-placed shot mid-range 15-yards back just inside the right post.
On the night RHS held an 19-3 advantage on total shots and 12-3 edge on shots on goal. Arneson earned the shutout win and added three saves on the night. The Hodags will be on the road Thursday night at Medford. RHS will be back at home on Monday with another GNC contest as they host Newman Catholic in a rescheduled match.