Girls’ soccer: Cardinals’ defense keeping team afloat

Coon Rapids girls’ soccer (5-3-1) has three losses on its schedule, two against teams ranked in the latest state coaches association poll, but it’s a lack of scoring that has coach Jeff DeJoy concerned.

“Our biggest challenges have been trying to come up with ways to create more scoring chances,” DeJoy said.

Allie Erickson has a team-high 11 points and scored five of the Cardinals 12 goals through Sept. 19. Carrie Anderson and Shawna Langren have six and five points, respectively.

Coon Rapids’ Emily Kos, right, steps in front of Cretin-Derham Hall’s Lizzie Schneeman during the Cardinals’ 2-0 win Sept. 21.

Coon Rapids’ Emily Kos, right, steps in front of Cretin-Derham Hall’s Lizzie Schneeman during the Cardinals’ 2-0 win Sept. 21.
Photo by Bill Jones

That scoring disparity is a result of the Cardinals’ lack of depth at forward, too. “That’s been our Achilles’ heel, unfortunately,” he said.

After winning three of four games, the Cardinals’ struggle to score came to a head during Thursday’s 1-0 Northwest Suburban Conference loss at Robbinsdale Armstrong (2-5-1).

Eighth-ranked Park Cottage Grove edged the Cardinals 1-0 Aug. 23, the second game of the season, and No. 3 Burnsville posted its seventh shutout in eight games with a 2-0 victory Sept. 14.

Besides those games, Coon Rapids is 5-0-1 and outscored the opposition 12-3 with four shutouts. It also tied at Blaine 0-0, Sept. 3.

“Losing to those top teams allowed us to play good teams with nothing at stake,” DeJoy said.

The non-conference competition gave the Cardinals some game time on artificial turf, like that at state. “I had hoped that would prove valuable,” DeJoy said.

Coon Rapids posted a 4-0 win Sept. 17, sparked by Langren, both scoring and assisting on a goal. Other Cardinals to score included Bethany Hanson, Alli Miskowiec and Taylor Nyland.

One strength for Coon Rapids has been its ability to keep the ball out of its net, thanks to a defense that includes seniors Bethany Hanson and Shawna Langren and sophomore Emily Kos.

“Our defense has been fabulous all year,” DeJoy said. “We know that if we score, we have a chance to win. They have been very consistent and the backbone of our team. They’ve all played way above what I had expected they would before the game.”

That confidence can prove invaluable down the stretch when preserving a shutout can keep a season afloat.

Part of that defense has been the play by goalies Robin Lindemann and Sam Lefaive. Lindemann has posted 29 saves in 360 minutes (1.11 goals against average), while Lefaive has 41 saves in 370 minutes (0.86 goals against average).

The two continue to share minutes in goal and they wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s worked fine for us,” DeJoy said. “They push each other and are close enough in talent to warrant playing time. It keeps both involved and they’re both supportive of each other and are each other’s best fan.”

Andover

Andover (3-6-0 overall, 3-2-0 NWSC) scored a big Northwest Suburban Conference win over Champlin Park 5-4 Sept. 19. Down 4-2 at the half, the Huskies scored three times to earn the their second win in three games. Andover shutout Anoka 1-0 Sept. 12 before Centennial downed the Huskies at home 2-0 Sept. 17.

Andover’s top scorers were in fine form Thursday night. Senior Raquel Thelen and sophomore Madison Griess each scored twice.

Thelen added three assists to give her 13 on the team. Griess added two assists to give her three assists, while she leads the team with eight goals. They each lead the Huskies offense with 19 points on the season, while rest of the team has scored five goals and contributed no assists.

Freshman Morgan Wiley scored her second goal of the season.

Jason Olson is at
jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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