September 3, 2009 at 8:25 a.m.
Freshman Gwen Vitalis scored with one second left in the first half to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead, and added another goal in the second half to lead the Wildcats to a 3-0 win in their season-opener against Cambridge-Isanti last Thursday, August 27 on the beautiful new artificial turf field at Chisago Lakes High School.
The Wildcats dominated the first half of play, getting a number of early shots from Cassie and Hannah Trandahl. The Wildcats survived a scare midway through the half when the ball was played into their goal area. Several defenders attempted to clear the ball before senior defender Ashley Gibson stepped in and managed to get the ball to safety.
The Wildcats were unable to convert the numerous chances they were creating, largely due to some great goalkeeping from the Cambridge keeper. "She kept her team in the game throughout the first half," said Wildcat head coach Chris Haggerty. "But it seemed like only a matter of time before we would break the deadlock." And that time finally came when Vitalis shot over the top of the keeper and into the net just before the buzzer sounded to give the Wildcats a well-deserved 1-0 lead at halftime.
The Wildcats weathered a few Cambridge attacks in the second half before getting some breathing room with 14 minutes left in the game. With her back to the goal, Vitalis received a pass from junior Rachel Diers. Vitalis turned and ripped a thunderous shot over the Cambridge goalkeeper and into the back of the net to put the Wildcats up 2-0. Cassie Trandahl scored with six minutes left in the game on a great through ball from senior Amanda Houle to make the final score Chisago Lakes 3, Cambridge 0. "We had an impressive performance," said Haggerty. "We finished the game with eighteen shots on goal, three goals and a clean sheet."
The Wildcats open conference play by hosting the Vikings today at 5 p.m. at Chisago Lakes. Both teams have shown significant improvement over the past couple of years, making the local rivalry more fun to watch. Next Tuesday, September 8, the Wildcats will travel to St. Anthony Village High School to take on Spring Lake Park at 5 p.m.
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