FARIBAULT, MN - Unseasonably warm weather ruled this past week in Minnesota, which gave the U-19 girls soccer team a rare chance to play at home, outside in comfortable temperatures. The Sabres took full advatnage of the opportunities by putting on two dominant performances that saw them outscore their opponents 10-2.
Saturday's game pitted the U-19s against MapleBrook Premier and it was clear early in the play that the speed of the Sabres would pose problems for the visitors. Several good early chances went begging before senior Morgan Friday fizzed in a low ball across the mouth of the goal for Halie Reznik to slam home a shot at the back post to give SSM a 1-0 lead.
That lead caused some complancency in the home team, which resulted in a number of missed opportunities on the defensive side of the ball to deal with a Maplebrook attack. Eventually the visitors put themselves in a great scoring position and took their chance well to level the score five minutes before the halftime interval.
However, the Sabres responded immediately to restor their lead before the break. Friday received a ball 20 yards out from goal, swiveling this way and that to create an opening for a shot. Eventually she wriggled free to unleash a wicked left footed shot that was placed perfectly into the far top corner of the goal and regain the lead for the Sabres.
In the second half SSM made certain that lead would remain and, if possible be extended. It took less than 10 minutes before junior Miya Lennon took a defense splitting pass from Alyssa Hendricks and raced in on goal to cooly slot it past the goalkeeper. Later in the half the two juniors exchanged roles with Lennon skipping a headed pass to a streaking Hendricks who controlled the pass with her chest on a full sprint before expertly volleying the ball past to goalkeeper to far post and push the lead to 4-1.
Sunday SSM faced an old, familiar foe in REV SC. Having played the day beofre, the Sabres knew they would have to be focused in order to perform well, particularly in the unusually warm weather. The early stages of the match were slightly ragged, though the Maroon and White had the better of the possession overall. A quarter hour after kickoff the Sabres were able to get their noses in front when senior Alaysia Lane took a pass just inside the penalty box from Halie Reznik and found the far bottom corner with her shot.
Another 15 minutes went by before the Sabres struck twice more in quick succession. Both came courtesy of senior Hannah Melchiorre and both goals were eerily similar in nature. The speedy winger picked up possession in midfield and then used her speed to blow past several defenders before placing both shots easily past the REV goalkeeper. The goals extended the score to 3-0, a lead the Sabres took with them into the halftime break.
The second half saw the Sabres exert more composure and control over the game, while at the same time still lookig for chances to extend the lead. Henricks did just that in the 55th minute when she was able to tap home a great pass from Sacia Hanson. Nine minutes later Lennon laid off a pass inside the penalty area for Hannah Reznik who made no mistake with her shot to push the SSM lead to 5-0.
Again the Sabre defense momentarily lost focused allowing REV to unleash an unsavable shot to the top corner of the goal and bring the score to 5-1. Hendricks restored the five goal advantage with just five minutes left on the clock. The goal was Hendricks' fourth goal in the last four games.
The U-19s will wrap up the first term next weekend with two more games at home, including their final Fall MRL game of the season. The Sabres will face FC Green Bay in that league match Saturday at 5 PM before concluding the fall term with a battle against Minneapolis United Sunday at 4 PM.