A second long road trip in consecutive weeks faced the girls U-18 team as they chased their second MRL Premier title in three years. The Sabres went into the weekend sitting at the top of the standings, yet knowing they likely needed to win their three remaining games over the course of the three days in order to insure a championship.
Friday's match up pitted the Sabres against another unbeaten team that was lurking just below them in the standings, Classics Eagles 98 Red. Shattuck peppered the Eagles' goal early which paid off in the 8th minute when Mikayla Unger cut back a pass from the endline to Ann Marie Jaworski who fired her shot off the post and in the goal from 18 yards out.
The Sabres maintained their presssure througout the game while limiting Classic Eagles to just one shot on goal for the entire 90 minutes. Despite their 36 shots, the elusive insurance goal never came leaving SSM to settle for a 1-0 win and its 21st shutout of the year.
Saturday proved a far more successful day in terms of goal scoring with Shattuck netting two first half goals before exploding for six in the second half against TFA Elite. After only 12 minutes Unger opened the goal scoring from a Tiernny Wiltshire assist. Senior Ally Cranfield doubled the lead on the half hour by redirecting a low cross from Alaysia Lane into the top right corner of the goal.
After the break the Sabres looked determined to put the game beyond doubt and went on an all out assault on the TFA goal scoring 3 goals inside the first 10 minuts of the second half. Lane wasted little time taking a Hannah Dotter pass and racing past the TFA defense in the first minute to extend the Sabre lead to 3-1. Dotter increased the advantage even more by superbly heading home a cross to the back post before Wiltshire took a Cranfield pass and laced a shot into the top half of the goal from 25 yards.
Unsatisfied with a four goal lead, Shattuck kept pushing for more. Jaworski scored two goals on either side of Lane's second goal of the game to complete the Sabres' scoring on the day. The defense of Susan Kehl, Elle Cooper, Harper DeMay and Lauren Crenshaw was again superb limiting TFA to a single shot on goal.
With two victories in hand, Shattuck went into the final game on Sunday knowing that a win would guarantee them the league title before other teams could complete the remainder of their schedules. While they dominated possession and chances early in the match against FC Pride, the hometown team from Indianapolis showed great pluck and looked dangerous on the counter attack.
After carving out two good looks at goal, Pride finally took a surprise lead through a fantastic left footed cross and glancing header that beat the Sabres' tight marking. Rather than get rattled, Shattuck simply regrouped, kept their composure and went about business as usual. That resolve paid off just 8 minutes before the half when Wiltshire pounced on a distribution error by the Pride goalkeeper and calmly chipped her to level the score.
While leveling the score before half might be enough for some teams, the Sabres kept pushing and one minute before the break were rewarded with another goal that would ulitmatley prove to be the game winner. Jaworski picked up the ball 35 yards from goal and drove forward while Unger made a darting run from the left into the Pride box. With most of Pride's attention on Jaworski and Unger, senior Hayley Moore made a late run from othe right hand side that was spotted by Jaworski who delivered a perfectly weighted pass into Moore's path before she cooly slotted the ball past the Pride goalkeeper and give Shattuck the lead. The game winning goal was Moore's second in four games.
Early in the second half Wiltshire played a sublime lofted pass over the top of the Pride defense that Lane controlled and beautifully lobbed past the goalkeeper from a tight angle to put the result beyond doubt. The pair traded roles just before full time with Lane playing a lovely little lay off inside the box into the path of a streaking Wiltshire who finshed off her second goal of the game and complete the Sabres' scoring.
With the league championship completed, Shattuck now turns its attention to State Cup play beginning May 21st against the winner of Eden Prairie SC and REV SC. Kickoff for that match is 11 AM in Mankato.