The Red Knights opened their season today with a 2-0 shutout win over the visiting Granite City Warriors. Both goals were scored on set pieces, less than three minutes apart midway through the first half.
The first was scored by Elly Freesmeier as she headed home the game-winner in the 22nd minute. It was scored off a long throw-in by Katie Kienstra from the far side that found her fellow captain in the six yard box. 2 1/2 minutes later Kienstra nodded one in as well, this one coming from an indirect kick taken by Kelsey Murphy (pictured above) from the near touchline.
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That was the good news for IWA as they finished a pair of set pieces and earned the win in their first outing of the season. The challenge now will be to work on finishing from the run of play. While Granite City, who won their opener last week against Marion, created a few opportunities early the majority of play was in Incarnates favor as they used seniors Tori Kruse and Kelsey Murphy on the wing in their traditional 4-4-2. Both players were able to find space and create chances for their teammates and will be a key component of the attack going forward.
The team will rely on these two with senior captains Freesmeier (Indiana State) and Kienstra (Arkansas) while Mo Rooney and Logan Heacock will be called on to lock down the central defense. Rooney seems to take any incursion into her area personally which will make Kienstra’s job easier in the middle. Anna Williams is tasked with partnering with Kienstra in the central midfield. She primarily took a defensive role but did move forward in support of the offense as well.
Goalkeeper looks to be a shared role this year with Mykala Hussong who was in the net for most of the playoffs last year following an injury to Andrea Brown, each playing a half today.
By the way, it’s Spring Break at Mizzou this week. That meant the girls got a visit from alum Mel Donaldson and a friend as they took in the first half of the match today (picture below). One other note of interest – is Head Coach Erin Hesselbach superstitious? I ask because the Home Benches are now on the Northeast side of the field rather than the Southeast end closer to the clock. I can’t think of another reason for moving away from the clock and warmup area on the softball field to the South of the pitch. Anyone have more details?
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