September 24, 2009 at 8:25 a.m.

NB stays with Eagles, smokes Heights

NB stays with Eagles, smokes Heights
NB stays with Eagles, smokes Heights

Totino Grace 2, North Branch 0

"In past years," said Viking girls' soccer coach Peter Grand, "Totino Grace and their coaching staff, led by head coach Matt Thibodeau, have always shown respect for the efforts of the Vikings even though the outcome of the matches was predictable."

This year, the Vikings not only earned the respect of Totino Grace, but played them evenly for most of the game. In the end, the powerful Eagles beat the Vikings 2-0 in a game played last Tuesday, September 15 at North Branch.

While the Eagles earned their first goal, the second goal, said Grand, "was uncalled for." On an Eagle free kick, goalkeeper Abby Alm and her defensive wall didn't communicate well, giving the Totino player a free shot on net. "We will work on these little details", said coach Grand, "but overall this was not only the best game of this season but probably one of the best games ever played by a North Branch women's soccer team." Grand pointed down to the end of the North Branch soccer field where the Totino Grace coach had gathered his players. Grand said "The fact that coach Thibodeau has talked to his team for ten minutes and does not look really happy is our achievement. I am really proud of our players and the result tonight."

North Branch 11, Columbia Heights 0

After the boys' varsity soccer game that saw eleven goals earlier in the evening (a 6-5 win for the Vikings), it was up to the North Branch girls to add another eleven. But in the girls' game, all eleven goals were scored by one team. Nine different players scored in the Vikings' 11-0 win at Columbia Heights last Thursday, September 17. Freshman backup goalkeeper Alyssa Rupp played in the second half to split a shutout with sophomore Abby Alm, who patrolled the nets in the first half.

The Vikings were up 6-0 at by the end of the first half. At halftime, Grand set two goals for the second 40 minutes: to outplay the opponent with multiple passes and to score only from outside the 18 yard box, except for headers or volleys on crosses. Regular goalkeeper Abby Alm played out in the second half and scored the eleventh goal for the Vikings. At that point, coach Grand required a stop on scoring.

Jessica Audette and Bayley Ertl had two goals apiece for the Vikings. The other scorers were Alm, Mariah Atkins, Rebecca Collins, Bradi Herdina, Alex Madsen, Megan Pignato and Molly Pignato.

Grand understands what the Hylanders are going through. It wasn't too long ago that the Vikings struggled a lot against most of the teams they played. He said "Coach Lightbody, who I know from his time at Fridley, will have a lot to do to build the Columbia Heights program. There are some good players on his team. I wish them all the best."

Talking about the lopsided result in this game, Grand said "To build on your players' confidence it is nice to earn a comfortable win. But we actually learned more from the 2-0 loss against Totino-Grace. That game demanded everything from my players and they did well."




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