Early onslaught drives out Dodgers
With 5 minutes to go in the first half and the Bobcats holding onto a healthy lead, Marshalltown coach Allie Osmundson told her team to keep up the intensity.
She felt comfortable about how the match was going but knows the game can change quickly if you let up a little.
The Bobcats let up a bit in the first minute of the second half and Fort Dodge took advantage with its first tally of the game. The Dodgers added another second-half goal with 6 minutes to play, but none of that mattered Friday night because Marshalltown’s 5-0 halftime lead was too much to overcome.
Five different players scored a goal and the Bobcats improved to 4-3 on the season following the 5-2 win. Marshalltown led 5-0 at halftime and scored all five goals in the opening 22 minutes.
“That was a good feeling. I didn’t expect that to happen,” said MHS senior Lexi Vaughn, who got the Bobcats on the board less than 5 minutes into the match with her ninth goal of the season. “(Fort Dodge) has a similar record. I thought we would compete equally, but after we got up five goals on them, I was amazed.”
Sophomores Ellyn Boland and Lexi Gimbel, freshman Kyra Hungerford and junior Rachel Whaley also tallied goals in the Central Iowa Conference Northern Division opener. Senior Lindsey Ricken contributed two assists, while senior Emily Rebik assisted on Boland’s goal.
“I definitely thought Fort Dodge looked not ready to play at all and we capitalized on it,” said Osmundson. “Sometimes if the other team comes out sluggish, it’s easy to follow suit and play sluggish, too. I thought we stuck it to them right away and kept plugging away. We got some early goals and that was the difference.”
The Bobcats attempted 16 shots in each half and 15 of them were on goal in the game. Fort Dodge was limited to just three shots and two shots on goal in the first 40 minutes, but the Dodgers converted two of their four shots on goal in the final half.
Paige Savery, who had a goal and an assist for the visitors, took advantage of a misplayed ball by the Bobcat defense in the first minute of the second half and put the Dodgers on the board with a goal just 49 seconds in.
“It was frustrating. You can’t get mad because sometimes you slip up. We just need to make sure we are all covered every time,” said senior sweeper Taylor Vaudt. “The five goals were great to see. It was fun seeing them get lots of shots on goal and putting some of them in.”
Madeline Westerhof scored her ninth goal of the season with 6 minutes still on the clock late in the match, but Marshalltown was never threatened thanks to the early onslaught on offense.
Boland’s second goal of the season came 2 1/2 minutes after Vaughn cracked the scoreboard. Rebik set up the sophomore midfielder with a nice centering pass just in front of the net.
Whaley made it 3-0 with her second tally of the season. She was at the right spot at the right time as she was the beneficiary of a final deflection in front of Fort Dodge keeper Hailee Richardson.
Ricken recorded the assist on Whaley’s goal and then added her second of the night when Hungerford converted a one-timer just outside the box that soared over Richardson’s outstretched arms and through the net with 22:10 left in the first half.
Hungerford’s goal came a little more than 2 minutes after Whaley’s and then Gimbel made it 5-0 with an unassisted goal about 3 1/2 minutes later. That was Gimbel’s third goal of the season.
“I thought we did a good job of playing the through ball in,” said Osmundson. “They kept us to one side as best they could but we switched the field and got the through balls in really nice in that first half.”
Fort Dodge (2-3, 0-1) adjusted its defense in the second half and did a much better job of containing the Bobcat offense.
The Dodgers stole a smidge of momentum 49 seconds into the second half when Savery pushed the ball past backup goalkeeper Leiah Paustian, who relieved Amanda Hughes in the second half.
But even though Fort Dodge tallied another goal later in the match to pull even closer, the early deficit handed to them by the Bobcats was too much to withstand.
“We talked about keeping the intensity up because we didn’t want to give them confidence. We gave up a goal in less than a minute and that wasn’t too good,” said Osmundson. “Give credit to Fort Dodge, they played much better in the second half. We just mishandled the ball in the back a few times.
“The second half wasn’t as good, but because we played so well in the first half, it didn’t matter. We obviously want to put together a complete game because we won’t be able to do what we did tonight against good teams.”
Fort Dodge is 2-3 on the season and all three losses have come against teams from the Central Iowa Metropolitan League. The Dodgers’ only two wins were an 8-0 win over Carroll and an 8-1 win over Garner-Hayfield/Ventura. There was only one game played between Fort Dodge and Marshalltown on Friday because the Dodgers’ entire soccer roster consists of just 21 players. Hughes had two saves in the first half for MHS, while Paustian also had two saves but allowed two goals.