Valley squads power past Jays

The Merrill girls dropped a pair of Valley games on the pitch last week, losing 4-0 to Marshfield on Tuesday in rough weather, and falling 6-0 to talented SPASH on Thursday.
The Tigers are 3-1 in the WVC and 4-2 overall, while the Panthers are 2-1 and 5-1. The Bluejays are now 0-2 and 0-3.
Point scored twice in the first dozen minutes of the game, and put together two 3-goal halves for the win.
“We played probably our best game of the year against a team that is known to be able to score goals,” MHS coach Will Bialecki said. “The way we progressed from Tuesday’s game and even the Monday loss to Antigo, was much better. We passed the ball and communicated, and had pressure many times in Point’s defensive end. At times, Point panicked because I don’t think they expected to see that.
“Sidney (Harris) had two shots (on goal), and we moved Tracey (Pophal) up to forward and she had at least one shot on goal. We used three forwards, one more than usual. We had more chances and I have a feeling we’re getting there. We’ll be getting players back from spring break and I’m seeing a lot of good things.”
Point scored in the final three minutes of the first half and in the last two of the second. Jen Hoerter and Laura Yonke each provided two goals and two assists.
“Four-five of their goals came from the same spot, just outside the 18 (-yard line) on the right side,” Bialecki said.
Merrill goaltender Breigha Bienfang-Johnas made 10 saves.
Tiger paw
Bialecki was more disappointed in Tuesday’s defeat than in Thursday’s.
“Marshfield’s an okay team, but we really didn’t play well,” he said. “We just had minimal passing going on. That was our downfall. We didn’t have any communication of movement to keep control of the ball.
“Marshfield has a lot bigger girls. They play physical and they pass well. They’re slower, but they’re a big physical team that knows how to play well together.”
Bienfang-Johnas stopped 18 of the 22 shots she faced. Merrill managed just two shots on goal.
“We do get to play these teams again, so we’ll get to compare how we do,” Bialecki said. “I like to think that we are improving.”

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