Rhinelander’s Payton Van Zile (15) is congratulated by teammates Jaden Olski (17) and Brooke Mork (7) after scoring a goal during a Great Northern Conference girls’ soccer game against Wausau Newman at the RHS soccer fields Thursday, May 9. The Hodags got goals from seven different players in a 7-0 victory over the Cardinals. (Photos by Bob Mainhardt for the River News)
Rhinelander’s Emma Roberts possesses the ball during the first half of a Great Northern Conference soccer game against Wausau Newman at the RHS soccer fields Thursday, May 9.
5/11/2019 7:30:00 AM Spreading the love Seven score for Rhinelander in senior night victory over Wausau Newman
The Rhinelander High School girls' soccer team looked to share the wealth Thursday at home. It may have led to a slow start for the Hodags, but the plan came to fruition in the end.
Seven different players - including three seniors - scored as the Hodags celebrated senior night, and ended the first round of GNC play, with a 7-0 win over Wausau Newman at the RHS soccer fields.
"I'm really happy about that," RHS girls' soccer coach Richard Kotula said. "Like I told the girls, this was a team-based mentality today. Everybody was thinking about others, how to make others look good. Senior night, it was something for them to remember. It just showed that this is a family of girls that really enjoy each other and support each other on and off the field."
All six seniors on the squad started and played in attacking positions for much of the first half. Despite some solid pressure, the Hodags had little to show for their efforts, leading 1-0 at halftime.
Playing into a cold, stiff northerly breeze also hindered the Hodags' attack in the first 45 minutes, as did a Newman side that committed a large number of players to defend the penalty area.
"The wind was against us in the first half, but I don't think that was the biggest thing," Kotula said. "Just mixing players, giving multiple girls opportunities in different positions and getting accustomed to that (played a role). Also Newman's defense was constantly getting compacted back. They did a nice job doing that. They didn't create any opportunities against us, but they created a challenging defensive position for us to try to penetrate and score some goals."
Newman's commitment to pack the penalty area backfired on the Cardinals in the 33rd minute and led to Rhinelander's first goal. Kahlie Arneson, who traded the goalkeeper's gloves for a spot in the field Thursday, took a shot following a scrum in the box that stuck a Newman defender in the hands, leading to a penalty kick. Brooke Mork made the shot from the penalty spot to give Rhinelander the lead.
Finally, in the second half, the floodgates flew open as Rhinelander scored five times in the first 23 minutes of the half to take control.
The Hodags scored just more than a minute into the half on a Jaden Olski shot from just left of the 18-yard box. Moments later Ella Schiek finished off an Izzy Haverkampf tap off a cross into the box by Gwyn Lowry. Haverkampf and Schiek switched roles to give Rhinelander a 4-0 lead in the 55th minute.
Arneson scored her second goal of the season in the 65 minute, a shot from roughly 25 yards that snuck inside the top right corner of the goal and the Van Zile sisters made it 6-0 in the 68th minute on a give-and-go play with senior Payton setting up junior sibling Kenedy.
Payton Van Zile tacked on a goal in the 90th minute, off a cross from senior teammate Emma Hjelle.
Newman did not register a shot on goal in the match, but the Hodags had a tense moment in the final minute as they tried to preserve their seventh shutout of the season.
Defender Madi Losch was called for a hold in the penalty area, giving Newman a penalty kick against Hodag backup keeper Lisa White, but Jaida Heinz pulled her shot wide to keeper's left in what was the last action of the match.
"Lisa's improving and when that PK was called we had pretty high hopes that she could save it," Kotula said. "She seen it was going to her left. She made a motion in there. Unfortunately for the Newman team, they missed but I have a feeling Lisa would have probably got that one."
The win moved Rhinelander (7-3-0, 6-1-0 GNC) one game behind Ashland for first in the GNC, with final round play beginning this coming Tuesday. The Hodags will get a crack at fellow top-four GNC teams Lakeland, Ashland and Northland Pines in the final round.
Rhinelander returns to the pitch this morning in its final non-conference match of the regular season, taking on Holmen as part of the D.C. Everest Invite in Weston. Kickoff is set for 9:45 a.m.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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