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GENOA — Monday afternoon, the Mendota girls soccer team worked on how to properly attack Indian Creek goalkeeper Josie Diehl.
Based on scouting reports MHS coach Chawn Huffaker received, the best way to score on Diehl was to shoot low, so he forced his Lady Trojans to shoot low in practice.
Despite the practice, the Lady Trojans couldn’t generate enough offense Tuesday as they lost 3-1 to the Lady Timberwolves in a Class 1A Genoa-Kingston Regional semifinal.
“We worked so hard (Monday) in practice,” Huffaker said. “We even stretched a net across the goal so they only had three feet to shoot on — they had to shoot low. Transferring from practice to a game has been hard this year. It’s been a rough year.”
No. 4-seeded Mendota scored first when Sarah Hupfauer took a cross from Marissa Bonnell and put it past Diehl in the 22nd minute.
The Lady Trojan advantage was short lived.
Just 2:37 later, Indian Creek’s Christina Sommerfeld dribbled into the right corner and lofted a shot that floated into the net out of reach of Mendota keeper Rubi Arteaga.
The top-seeded Lady Timberwolves took the lead for good when Sommerfeld crossed to Madison Spooner with 5:45 left in the first half.
“The midfield,” Huffaker said about the difference in the game. “The ball would be kicked from the goal and we wouldn’t be there to even challenge the ball. We talked about it all year. It’s not that the girls don’t hustle. It’s not that they don’t put the effort in. It’s just mental consistency. That’s the key for our season — we’re not consistent. We could not put 80 minutes of soccer together at all this season.”
The Lady Trojans had plenty of opportunities in the second half, including five corner kicks and a penalty kick by Abby Bromenschenkel that was stopped by a diving Diehl.
“We had our chances,” Huffaker said. “The penalty kick is what it is. Penalty kicks are great, but there’s never any guarantee. She struck the ball solid. The keeper just guessed right. We went over penalty kicks (Monday) in preparation for regionals. The keeper made a nice save. That’s all there is to it.”
Indian Creek added an insurance goal in the 54th minute when Bailey Martenson booted in a long shot when the ball rolled long following a scrum off a corner kick. Mendota finishes the season 5-11-1 in Huffaker’s first season.
“We’ll be alright,” Huffaker said. “We only have six seniors. We’ll be in good shape for next year. We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores playing out there. Throughout the course of the entire season, freshmen and sophomores played a huge amount of minutes. It’s only going to help them. And our JV program only lost two games. We’re in good shape.
“You hate to have to go through this year — especially for the seniors — because everybody wants to win, but it is what it is and it’s over and we have to learn from it.”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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