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Lady Spartans fall prey to Blazers, 3-0

Beckman Catholic serves Solon first home loss of 2018
Lady Spartan senior Chandler Dewitt boots the ball to the center of the field, trying to turn away an attack on the Solon goal, by splitting Beckman Catholic players Jess Lueken and Kylee Ruber on Friday, April 13. The Lady Spartans fell victim to Beckman Catholic’s pressure, 3-0, at Spartan Stadium. (photos by Jeff Hess)

SOLON– Mother Nature appeared to shake off all her unlucky perspiration from the seasonal temperatures on Thursday over the noticeably colder and windswept Spartan Stadium as the Trailblazers of Beckman Catholic, from Dyersville, served the Lady Spartans their first home loss of the 2018 season on Friday, April 13.
Beckman Catholic, first place in the WaMaC East, faced the Lady Spartans under windy and cool conditions as the heavens occasionally spat upon both teams.
The Blazers leaped out to an early lead, 1-0, with less than three minutes expired from the clock. The Lady Spartans withstood repeated attempts on their goal and held, moving the ball past midfield on several occasions before the Trailblazers scored again with a little over 3:35 remaining in the first half. Beckman Catholic scored again a little over a minute later to make the lead 3-0. Beckman threatened twice again in the time remaining, however the Lady Spartans staved off the onslaught to end the half trailing, 3-0.
Brenna Gogel prevented several attempts on the goal by the Blazers and there was a tense moment when she was inadvertently collided with her own teammate Kenzie Pentico in the box halting play for a few moments, with 25:49 remaining, as the referee ensured she was OK. The Lady Spartans held Beckman Catholic scoreless for the entire 40-minute second half, with Gogel making saves and the defense attempting to alleviate the pressure on her.
Gogel spent all 80 minutes in the goal for Solon, allowing only three goals with 19 saves, a game save percentage of 86.4 against Brckman.
The Beckman Catholic Trailblazers moved to 3-0 on the season with the win and the Lady Spartans’ record moved to 1-2.
Sylvia Havlicek was the only Lady Spartan credited for a shot on the goal in the Beckman game.
“Our defense really stepped up in the second half of the Beckman game. They are starting to really work together well. We just have not had a chance to really hone in on our offense, and also working it out of the back effectively. We have a busy schedule this week, so we will be working on things as we go,” Solon Head Girls’ Soccer Coach John Tucker said.
“Both Marion and Beckman were very good at pressuring the ball and anticipating where we would be passing the ball,” Coach Tucker added. “We need to work on quicker passing, anticipating the play, and distributing the ball better in the games ahead. We have the skills to do it, but I think it is just a matter of not having enough time together on the field yet.”
On Thursday, April 19, Solon heads south to face Muscatine at 5:30 p.m., then travels to Anamosa on Friday, April 20, also at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21, the Lady Spartans host North Liberty’s Lightning at 11 a.m. It is a trek to West Dubuque on Tuesday, April 24, for a 5:30 p.m. game and a 4:30 p.m. match in Mount Vernon on Friday, April 27.
With the hectic schedule coming up, Coach Tucker looks to the challenges as an opportunity.
“Each game is going to be unique in what we are going to see,” he said. “We will have to adjust defensively to each team we are facing, but really try to work more on fine tuning our offense, and again, working it up the field as a unit.”
The team is constantly making adjustments, Coach Tucker said.
“Before games, at halftime, and after games, we discuss what went well, and what we need to work on,” he said. “The girls have been doing a great job trying to implement the things that they are learning, and are getting better each game. This next week and a half will be a great opportunity for them to really hone in on things.”
Adjusting the offense is forefront on the Lady Spartans’ to-do list, he added.
“We see the same teams year over year, and unless there is a coaching change, we know basically what we are up against,” he said. “There is definitely a wide range of teams we will face in the next 10 days. Each will pose a unique offense to try to defend. But like I said, we really need to work on our own offense and possession, which no matter who we face, should result in goals being scored if we continue to improve and work on the things that we talk about through the games and practices.”