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Solon soccer girls fall in Muscatine, 5-0

MUSCATINE– The facility at the Muscatine Soccer Complex hid a grass field not quite embraced by the season smattered with uneven spots and grass beginning to feel the warm caress of the 50-degree day.
Grass fields have proved to be the Lady Spartans’ Achilles heal this season, and following the bumping and elbowing while jockeying for position the results on grass proved the same as the Lady Spartans fell prey to the Muscatine Muskies, 5-0, on Thursday, April 19.
“Going in, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Muscatine is one of the largest schools in the state, and has always had a solid team. We have been really starting to work better together, and I knew we would play well, which we did. We just couldn’t seem to get good looks at their goal,” Coach John Tucker said of the game.
The Muskies jumped out to a 1-0 lead a minute into the first half. Following a flurry of hips, elbows and shoulders from both teams, the Lady Spartans battled like prizefighters, silencing the scoring by the Muskies, for almost 32 minutes. However Solon got caught with a scoring jab as Muscatine put another into the net with 6:30 remaining in the first half, then an uppercut hit the net with a third score on a Lady Spartan miscommunication on defense, with 3:43 remaining. The Muskies led at the half, 3-0, over Solon.
The second half began as a back and forth affair between the two teams until Solon fell back into a bit of a defensive stance like a prizefighter defending himself on the ropes. A penalty kick made by the Muskies’ sophomore Natalie Lingle with 23:23 remaining in the game extended the Muskies lead to 4-0.
Muscatine extended its lead to 5-0 with 22:44 remaining in the game.
In 80 minutes of play, Brenna Gogel saved the Lady Spartans eight times and allowed five goals. The only Spartan credited for a shot on goal was Solon senior Delaney Bair.
“It was a very physical match. Some of the players are going to be sore, but none are expected to be out for any length of time,” Tucker reported after Brianna Smith and Megan Tucker left the game with injuries. “With two more games in the next two days, there will be a lot of players getting a lot of playing time.”
Coach Tucker felt the last two games were not opposite sides of the spectrum, but building blocks. “Each game has presented different challenges,” he said. “In a flurry of injuries and substitutions, some of the girls had to slide into positions they normally would not be in. And to be honest, I saw some things that may be fun to start building on. I don’t think it was necessarily a step back. There are certainly things we could have done better, but overall, given Muscatine’s skill and experience, I thought we actually played a pretty good match against them.”
Muscatine is a very solid team, he added. “Very fast, technically sound, and experienced. You could see that they have been playing together for years. While our defense has really stepped up and is playing better each game, we are going to keep trying to get our offense running more effectively. We are beat up pretty bad, but I think we will be able to put some points on the board against Anamosa. I’m proud of this team’s attitude and willingness to keep working to get better. Every practice, every game, and every chance they get to work on something, ask questions, or make suggestions for improvement, they have done that.”
The Lady Spartans fell to 2-3 on the season, in their second game in three days, with a trip to Anamosa to face the Raiders (0-4) on Friday, April 17, scheduled for the next day.