Girls varsity soccer earns third straight victory over Grand Rapids Christian 5-0

Tommy Spaletto

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Ally Francisco
May 22, 2020
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Senior captain Ashley Ward put on another offensive showcase in a huge victory for the girls varsity soccer team, as it defeated the Eagles of Grand Rapids Christian 5-0.

Ashley earned her second hat-trick in back-to-back games, scoring 3 goals in only 12 minutes. With 8 goals in the span of three games, Ashley has gotten into a groove and has been the main key to the success in the Lady Ranger offense.

“Offensively at practice, we’ve been working on switching the point of attack fast,” Ashley said. “Whenever I see the ball coming across to my side, I know I need to somehow find a way to put it in the back of the net.”

The Ranger offense started out hot, as in just the first three minutes of the game, Ashley had her first goal of the night with an assist from sophomore Gwen Henderson. As the confidence was going early for the Lady Rangers and they were getting more and more offensive opportunities at the goal, Ashley put in 2 more goals in the following nine minutes to slowly put the Eagles away.

“[Ashley] just has a knack for finding the back of the net,” head coach Ashley Ludtke said. “She’s a force up top, and she can find a way to score goals in a lot of different ways.”

As the relentless FHC offense kept wearing down the GRC defense for the remaining 18 minutes of the game, the defense held its ground when it was rarely tested. Sophomore Whitney Currie was persistent in stealing the ball from the Eagles and clearing the ball to the offense to make plays. As the defense kept standing its ground, the Lady Rangers went into the locker room at the half with a comfortable 3-0 lead.

Just two minutes into the second half, freshman Lauren Koczenasz struck with a goal to extend the FHC lead to 4-0. Another key component of the team that played a vital role in the second half was the midfield. Led by senior captain Grace Kline and Gwen, the midfield did a great job of being physical and not allowing any easy offensive success for the Eagles.

“We connected well to the outside,” Gwen said. “That made [for] good passes coming to the middle, so we could find opportunities to score.”

The Lady Rangers continued to defend well as the second half dwindled down and some great passes were made in a quick transition from defense to offense. Sophomore Autumn Burns and junior Ally Francisco did a great job of stealing the ball from GRC and then finding an open scorer down the field.

“[On defense] we just tried to make sure we found the forwards out wide and then hoped those turned into goals,” Ally said. “Then on a couple of free kicks, people delivered big plays.”

Junior Kelsey Toole would get the final goal for the Lady Rangers, and Coach Ludtke was able to get some fresh legs into the game for FHC, as the team eventually won 5-0.

With some success of passing down the stretch, connecting on passes consistently will certainly be a point of emphasis; the Lady Rangers next look to take on the Gull Lake Blue Devils on the road after a long break. If the high-scoring offense can show up and the excellent defense led by senior goalie Alexa Lauer can do the same, look for FHC to get another win over Gull Lake in the coming weeks.

“We just need to connect better, especially in the center of the field,” Ludtke said. “We need to play quicker and change the point of attack a lot better with a little more urgency.”