Back-to-back for the ’Cats

Taylor Vaudt doesn’t play a glamorous position for the Marshalltown girls’ soccer team. She rarely makes headlines and she won’t get mentioned as much as the Bobcats’ goal scorers who play at the other end of the field.

But there is no doubt that Vaudt is valuable to the success of the Bobcat squad. And she may have a black eye to prove it.

Vaudt took a hard ball to the face late in Marshalltown’s 3-0 win over rival Mason City on Monday, but that is the price she pays to prevent the opposition from scoring goals.

“The idea of preventing the other team from scoring and winning and keeping us in the game is the glory that I get,” said Vaudt.

That’s exactly what the Bobcat senior and the rest of her defensive teammates did against the Mohawks. Marshalltown locked up its second straight victory in Central Iowa Conference Northern Division play – and its fourth in five matches overall – and recorded its third shutout of the season.

The Bobcats’ top goal scorer became the facilitator in the victory as senior Lexi Vaughn delivered two assists.

The future Iowa Central Community College Triton set up fellow senior Lindsey Ricken a little more than a minute into the contest and Ricken poked it past Mason City goalkeeper Katie Voortmann for her first goal of the season.

After an own goal by the Mohawks put the home team up 2-0, Vaughn went back to work, this time dishing off to junior Molly Major, who sent the ball high into the air and out of Voortmann’s reach for the nifty score. It was the sixth goal of the season for Major.

“We got some early goals again and that was good, but I would have liked to have seen us score more in the second half,” said Marshalltown coach Allie Osmundson. “We had some good opportunities, we just couldn’t put them in. I am glad we are starting fast, but we will need to be able to score goals in both halves moving forward.”

Major’s goal came with 19:33 to play in the first half, and the Bobcats would not score the rest of the way.

Three goals were more than enough though as the Bobcat defense was up to the task of keeping the Mohawks off the scoreboard. Mason City was shut out for the second straight contest. The Mohawks also lost 9-0 to Northern Division rival Ames on Thursday.

“We have a solid defensive team,” said Vaudt. “We work really well together, are constantly talking and we transition back and forth between players really well.”

MHS senior goalkeeper Amanda Hughes wasn’t tested a whole lot in the first 40 minutes, but the Mohawks had several good chances to get on the board in the second half.

Mason City (4-5, 0-2) hit two posts over a 6-minute span in the final 10 minutes of the match and Vaudt made a couple of big plays from her sweeper position to keep the shutout intact.

With 9:43 to play, Mason City managed to get the ball into the keeper box and then it got past Hughes after a funny bounce. Vaudt, however, chased down the ball and cleared it before a Mohawk forward could put it into the net.

“I didn’t think about them scoring, I just wanted to get the ball out of there,” Vaudt said. “When you panic, that’s when you choke. You have to keep calm back there.”

Osmundson added, “I am glad I have her back there. I trust her. I know that if it gets by anyone else, she is always there. She has definitely saved us a lot this year. She is a good leader, hard worker and very important to our team.”

The Bobcats dominated play in the first half, out-shooting the Mohawks 11-5 and sending seven shots on goal. Mason City closed the gap significantly in the second frame, but the Bobcats still had a 9-7 advantage in shots. Both teams had four shots on goal.

The best chance Marshalltown (5-3, 2-0) had in the second half came when sophomore Ellyn Boland clanked the ball off the near post with around 22 minutes to play.

Sophomore Rachel Whaley also had a good scoring chance a few minutes later but her hard shot was corralled just in front of the net by Voortmann.

The victory keeps the Bobcats on pace for the Northern Division championship. Ames has started 1-0 and Marshalltown and the Little Cyclones (4-3) will meet in Ames on Thursday.

“We don’t talk about it a whole lot. We talked about how we were 1-0 after Friday and that today’s game was important for us,” said Osmundson about a potential division crown. “The girls definitely know what the situation is. I don’t want to give them any extra pressure, but I think they are aware of where they are in the standings.”

Notebook

Osmundson removed Hughes from her perch in goal with 7 minutes to go in the match to give sophomore keeper Leiah Paustian some minutes. Hughes recorded seven saves in the win, while Paustian did not face a shot on goal. Vaudt has not decided if or where she will play soccer at the next level but said after the win that a coach from Simpson College will watch her and the Bobcats play Ames on Thursday. Osmundson was a teammate of Mason City assistant coach Jeslynne (McGrath) Vaage when they played collegiately at Missouri State. Vaage and Mohawk head coach Whitney Peterson are both in their first year with the program. Vaughn’s two assists Monday where her first two helpers of the season. She leads the team with nine goals.