If you have been paying any attention to the soccer teams at Mankato West High School this year, you would have noticed the teams are heading in vastly different directions.
The girls are looking very strong and like a true state contender heading down the stretch nearing postseason play, while the guys have to improve quite a bit if they hope to regroup and contend by seasons end for a playoff spot.
The Mankato West Scarlets boys’ soccer team started off the season ugly and while they are still searching for their first victory, you can tell this team has improved as they have been closing the gap on their losses as of late. Instead of losing six to zero or seven to one, this team is now finding a way to keep the game close in the final minutes, positioning themselves to get a victory here in the near future.
The Scarlets’ latest game featured Rochester Century paying a visit to town. It was a defensive struggle the whole first half except for a breakaway from Rochester Century. Chol Ajak capitalized on the situation and found the back of the net to give his team a 1-0 lead heading into the locker rooms.
The second half was a defensive struggle. Mankato West tried to put a rally together with a couple of nice setup attacks down the middle of the field but Century eventually would put those to a halt and the Century goalkeeper received his first shutout of the season.
West is now 0-10 for the season and will continue to search for their first W.
The Lady Scarlets have been the exact opposite; looking rather unstoppable at times this season. Coming off a year in which they lost in the championship game, this team has had a chip on their shoulder all year to finally capture a state title. West is currently 9-0-3; they are a senior-led team and look like a force to be wrecking with come postseason play.
Their latest game came against Rochester John Marshall.
John Marshall came out looking to knock off the highly ranked Scarlets and scored early in the match, as Ava Masterpole scored at the 35-minute mark.
The Scarlets came back firing just five minutes later as junior Kate Nelson fired a shot past the goalkeeper to tie things up at 1-1.
Just as it seemed, this match was destined for extra time, and West sent in a barrage of goals. The Scarlets found the back of the net three times in the last ten minutes to blow this game wide open and take the lead 4-1, which would be the game’s final score.
It was a record-tying night for senior McKenna Buisman as she tied the school record for assists in a career with 35.
The West girls’ soccer team looks to build off this close game and continue the positive play deep into the season.