December 1, 2011 at 8:43 a.m.
The North Branch junior scored 22 goals and had four assists over the fall season for the North Branch girls soccer team.That mark put her in 10th place in the state.
But, more than score a boatload of goals, Ertl was the key to some of her other teammates goals, as she constantly drew extra attention from the other team's defense.
Ertl did most of her damage early in the season as the Vikings ran out to a 7-2 record and look to be serious contendors in Section 7A.
She even had a stretch where she scored 10 goals and two assists in seven days. She netted five goals and served up an assist in an 8-1 drubbing of Two Harbors, scored three goals in a 3-1 win over Cambridge-Isanti and had two goals and an assist in a 3-0 victory over conference foe Fridley.
"I wanted to get noticed by college coaches and knew I had to be effective to do that," Ertl said of her phenomenal junior year.
Of the 22 scores, one stood out in particular to Ertl. She doesn't even remember the team the Vikings were playing, but she turned real quick from about 18 yards out and booted the ball with her left foot -- Ertl is a righty -- and tucked the ball under the crossbar in the upper right corner.
It's plays like that that made Ertl such a dangerous scorer whenever she touched the ball for North Branch.
However, the Vikings stumbled down the stretch as more and more teams committed multiple defenders to Ertl and the schedule got brutal. The Vikes dropped seven of their last eight games to finish 8-9, including a demoralizing 6-0 loss to lower-seeded Proctor in the first round of sections.
But, that doesn't mean Ertl is deterred. "We have some girls who will be coming back from injury for next year, and hopefully everyone keeps training and playing hard over the offseason," she said.
As for Ertl, she'll have a winter that has nary a time to rest. In addition to being one of the top gymnasts for the North Branch gymnastics team, she'll be playing winter soccer with the St. Croix Arsenal, based in Stillwater. She'll continue to play for the Arsenal club throughout the summer and juggle her responsibilities as a student and gymnast.
Ertl said she looks forward to hopefully playing college ball in her future. "I'm at the point where it really doesn't matter where I play, just as long as I can play soccer at a high level in college," she said.
Ertl wanted to thank her parents, Dave and Sara Ertl, for pushing her and supporting her throughout her career as a soccer player and gymnast.
Although the fields will be frozen soon and high school soccer won't start for nine months, Ertl won't be resting on her laurels, and that has to be a scary thought for the defenses of the North Suburban Conference.