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Solon falls prey to Vinton- Shellsburg

Vikettes triumph over Lady Spartans in soccer, 3-1
Solon senior Megan Tucker battles Vinton-Shellsburg’s Kamryn Lillie for possession of the ball on Friday, May 11, at Spartan Stadium. The Lady Spartans fell to the Vikings, 3-1. (photo by Jeff Hess)

By Jeff Hess
Solon Economist
SOLON– The Spartan Stadium was aglow most of the week. Friday night, May 11, was no different as the Lady Spartans soccer team hosted the Vinton-Shellsburg Vikettes, falling prey to them, 3-1, under the lights.
After about 20 minutes of offensive and defensive transitions, working up and back on the field, the Vikettes scored to take the lead, 1-0, with 19:13 aglow atop the Spartans’ scoreboard.
A see-saw conflict ensued for the rest of the period as Vinton-Shellsburg’s offense answering several attacks mounted by the Spartans’ Sylvia Havlicek and Brianna Smith only to be turned away by defensive performances by Jill Richards and Faye Düster. The first half ended with Solon trailing, 1-0.
Solon mounted a charge coming out of halftime and tied the score, 1-1, on a breakaway assault by Smith on the goal, pulling the Vikettes’ goalie out of position and ultimately deflected back then driven in by Havlicek with 34:32 remaining.
Vinton-Shellsburg imposed themselves and drove down the field to hit the net and reclaim the lead at the 33:38 mark, putting the Vikettes back in control, 2-1. Although Solon attempted to regroup offensively, the Vikettes planted another ball in the goal just barely off the fingertips of Solon’s keeper Brenna Gogel with 28:41 remaining in the half to bolster Vinton’s lead, 3-1. The horn sounded to end the game without the scoreboard changing, the Lady Spartans knocking on several occasions but unable to get past the Vikettes’ door.
Havlicek was responsible for the only Lady Spartan score, credited with two shots on goal and the score. Smith made three shots with only the one deflected on goal, and Grace Keith had a shot on goal as well.
Gogel served 80 minutes in the goal, making three saves and sacrificing three goals to the Vikettes who were credited for 25 shots, 15 of which claimed to be on goal while the Madeline Moen, keeper for Vinton-Shellsburg, served 80-minutes in the opposition’s goal allowing a single goal and making seven saves.
“We need to be a little more cohesive in our play. I’d like our midfield to get more involved in the offense to take pressure off the forwards. We will be working on that in the next few practices,” Solon Head Coach John Tucker said.
Absent from the Lady Spartans’ lineup was defensive force Chandler DeWitt, who left the field following a collision later in the home game the previous week with Central Clinton, DeWitt. Coach Tucker was not certain of her return. “She will go back this week for a follow up. I’d like to remain optimistic,” he said.
Asked if her absence may have played into the loss, Coach Tucker dismissed the notion. “Any time you lose an integral part of the defense, it takes some adjusting. We have had to move some people around, which has been difficult. We were really starting to play well together, so I’m hoping we can find that level of cohesiveness again,” he said.
Coach Tucker made several adjustments to the Lady Spartans’ offense and the team strategy in recent weeks equating to a more offense-oriented attack by Solon. “We are looking at our midfielders to really step up and get more involved in the offense. It is a difficult position, and with the adjustments we have had to make due to injuries, it has made it that much more difficult. I’m impressed with the way that everyone has responded, though, and I am confident that we will work things out prior to getting into postseason play,” he said.
The loss, the second 3-1 loss in a row for Solon, moves the Lady Spartans to 4-8 on the season. Solon travels to Williamsburg to battle the Raiders on Tuesday, May 15, then hosts South Tama at home on Thursday, May 17, at 5:30 p.m. as the new Senior Night, and to fill in as a replacement for the cancelled trip to the Waverly tournament. The Lady Spartans end the regular season at Regina, in Iowa City, on Tuesday, May 22, at 4:30 p.m. On Tuesday, May 29, substate soccer semifinals begin for Solon.
“We will play Liberty, at home, in the first round. We played them to a shoot out earlier in the year, so we know what we are up against. We will study the film, and improve on the things that will help us win again,” Coach Tucker said of the Lady Spartans’ first round pairing.
Stats courtesy of Quickstatsiowa.com.