Bobcats feast on East again

The Marshalltown girls’ soccer team has figured out how to beat Des Moines East. Figuring out how to defeat the rest of the teams on its schedule is the next step for the Bobcats as they continue their climb up the Central Iowa Conference pecking order.

Junior Molly Major scored two unassisted goals and added an assist as Marshalltown jumped out to an early lead against East and eased to a 4-1 win at Leonard Cole Field on Tuesday night.

Lexi Vaughn added her third goal of the season and Lexi Gimbel put in her first tally of the year as the Bobcats led 4-0 before giving up a goal in the final 3 minutes.

“It was a lot of fun to score some goals, especially after we lost on Friday. It was good to bounce back and get a win,” said Major. “We were able to make a lot more runs. I am not sure if that was because we concentrated on it more or if it was because of the style of defense that East plays, but I am hoping we can learn from this experience and get the same runs and same shots against (other teams).”

The Bobcats are now 2-2 on the season. Both wins have come against the Scarlets, who lost to Marshalltown 3-0 at the Southeast Polk Invitational. Des Moines East dropped to 1-4 after the loss.

“We had a lot of chances, but I don’t necessarily think we played the best soccer or our style,” said MHS coach Allie Osmundson. “I would like to see us connect more passes. It seemed a little bit sloppy, but we came out with the win, so I am happy about that, and scoring four goals is big. Anytime we can score four, I’ll be happy about it.”

The offensive chances were heavily in favor of Marshalltown. The Bobcats outshot the Scarlets 15-3 in the opening half. Vaughn’s goal off a nice pass from Major 15 minutes into the contest gave the Bobcats a lead they wouldn’t surrender. Major then made it 2-0 with an unassisted tally in the 34th minute.

Marshalltown continued to control the pace and possession in the final half. The Bobcats converted on two of their seven shots on goal and outshot East 13-6.

Major converted her second goal of the night off a free kick that came a few feet past the keeper box. She lofted it over East’s defensive wall and high over Scarlet goalie Jocelyn Valalez’s reach.

Gimbel’s goal came a little less than 2 minutes later as she took a feed from Ellyn Boland on the outside and made a couple attempts at the net before eventually scoring off a deflection.

The four goals from the offense was more than enough for returning all-conference sweeper Taylor Vaudt and the rest of the Bobcat defense. Neither Amanda Hughes nor Leiah Paustian were challenged too much in the net and most of the action stayed at Marshalltown’s offensive end.

The only goal of the game for East came with 2:20 left on the clock. Osmundson had just made some changes to her lineup when the Scarlets, whose lone win was an 8-0 victory over Des Moines North, took advantage of some miscommunication from the new Bobcat defenders.

Bailey Swackhamer got behind the defense after receiving a pass from Haley Bodensteiner and beat Paustian one-on-one in front of the net.

“Our defense is solid. There is a lot of experience back there. I trust them and I rely on them a lot and they have done well,” Osmundson said. “I thought we looked good at that end of the field.

“There were some newer players in there in the end during that goal. I won’t fault them. I want those young kids to play and get experience.”

Paustian stopped one of her two shots on goal in the final 40 minutes, while Hughes saved both of East’s shots on goal in the first half.

Osmundson was without both Paustian and Hughes at the Southeast Polk Invitational. Hughes played nearly 70 minutes in net against Des Moines Roosevelt on Friday night before splitting time evenly with Paustian on Tuesday.

I trust both of our keepers,” said the third-year Bobcat coach. “I just want to get (Paustian) some experience when I can to see her in games. They have both improved so much.”

Next up for the Bobcats is a home match with Class 2A No. 12 Newton. It will be the second meeting with the Cardinals this year, as well. Newton (6-0) defeated MHS in a shootout at the Southeast Polk Invitational.

Osmundson said she felt like her squad played well enough to win the first time around and hopes they can muster up a few more chances at the offensive end. She also said she doesn’t believe anyone on the Bobcats’ roster has beaten Newton in their careers.

“I am really mad that we lost to Newton in the shootout, and am ready for that one,” said Major. “I hope the rest of the team is, too.”

Notebook

The latest outlook on Marshalltown’s Morgan Gardalen is not good. The Bobcat senior and future Central College Dutch is scheduled to have surgery for a torn meniscus at the end of the month. Osmundson said if her star forward returns this year it won’t be until the end of the season. That means Major, Boland and Lindsey Ricken are going to have more prominent offensive roles. “It’s a big loss, but at the same time, I think Lexi has found a spot up top and has done well. We’ll miss Morgan but she brings that positive energy to the team even if she’s not on the field,” said Osmundson. “It’s a loss because it’s one of our best offensive players. The middle players are going to have to step up, make runs up and fill that offensive void.” East’s starting goalkeeper Molly Seher left the match early in the first half after a collision with Boland and did not return. She stopped four of Marshalltown’s first five shots on goal.