Elk River won for the fourth time in its last five outings, 1-0 over a good Rogers team, on Saturday at home, with Ali Brown notching the goal.
Kelsey Brown (13) of the Elks and Molly Larson of the Royals jousted for the ball at the sideline. Rogers wore yellow tops because both teams showed up with white jerseys. Behind them was Michaela Gibas. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Ali Brown notched the lone goal of game as the Elk River girls nipped the Rogers Royals 1-0 on Saturday in the second installment of their District 728 rivalry.
It was the first goal of the year for Brown, a senior forward. She connected with 25 minutes left, from about 15 yards out. Her shot deflected off a Royal defender and soared over the reach of Rogers goalkeeper Courtney Jacob.
Kaylee McDonald (9) and Ali Brown (2) conferred on the sideline with Brian Steuter, shortly after the two seniors combined for the lone goal of the match. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
"Ali did what you're supposed to do in that situation, take a shot at it," said coach Brian Steuter.
Kaylee McDonald set it up with a move that split the defense, followed by a nice pass right to Brown.
The Elks have won four of their last five to improve to 6-6-2 overall. Rogers is 11-3-1. The Elks also won the first Elk-Royal match last year.
The Elks were pleased to shut out a good team with 66 goals for the season.
"I think our whole defensive back line did a good job against their speed," said Steuter. "Rogers has a lot of great offensive players."
Emily Ecklund, Hilary Dusbabek, Annie Kaminsky and Kayla Osowsky were holding the line in front of goalkeeper Maria Guidarelli. Dusbabek had prime responsibility for Rogers' standout athlete Heather Brunn.
A couple times late in the match, Guidarelli came a little too far out but the defense alertly dropped in behind her. In one instance, Osowsky cleared the ball with a header pass from the mouth of the goal.
"When their keeper came out of the box, we had three or four opportunities," said Rogers coach Adam Noll, "but we could not put one away. That's the way it's gone for us lately, against St. Michael-Albertville, too (a 2-0 loss)."
The Elks permitted seven shots while taking 13. In each case, most of the offense came with a brisk wind at their backs, with the Royals playing with the wind in the first half, and the Elks in the second.
Noll said Rhaya Ballon in the middle had a strong game along with defender Jessica Gearou, always the anchor of the defense.
Rogers will play at Big Lake on Monday. The Elks will play at Osseo on Tuesday.