After losing to Kettle Moraine Lutheran (KML) 6-0 earlier this season, Ripon High School Tiger girls’ head soccer coach Steve Nankervis wanted to see improvement from his team last week Friday.
He witnessed just that as the Tigers lost to the Chargers just 3-0 this time around on the road.
“For them to do what they did to improve on that game against KML, that's huge; that's a win in itself,” Nankervis said, noting KML is a top-level team in the East Central Conference.
A reason why the Tigers were able to hang with the Chargers closer last week Friday was a result of the play of its defense and midfield as Nankervis said it played a “really good, sound game.” This came after he noted Ripon “did not play good soccer” and “did a lot of ball watching in the first game.
“McKenzie [Nodolf], Ari Brooks, Sheridan Zimmerman and Emma Pinnow did a fantastic job on the back line,” the Ripon head coach said. “And then our work in midfield with Ellerie Rost, Sage Julian, Olivia Jennings, some of those girls in the midfield were really strong for us."
Only one of the three goals the Tigers allowed came on a defensive breakdown as a KML attacker broke through the defense in the 47th and had a one-on-one opportunity with goalkeeper Hailee Scheier and managed to beat her low to the far post.
The first goal, which came at the 18-minute mark, was an own goal as the ball took an unfortunate bounce off of Sheridan Zimmerman and went into the goal. The second score, meanwhile, came in the 38th minute and was a “pretty decent goal” according to Nankervis as a Charger player worked the ball across the top of the box with a give-and-go and was able to find the back of the net.
Scheier finished the game with 13 saves to keep the score at just 3-0, while Brooks spelled her for 10 minutes when Scheier was dealing with a bloody nose and made one save for the Tigers.
Offensively, Nankervis said the Tigers were able to put some good pass strings together and had a “few moments of good attack,” but were unable to capitalize as they were missing forward Karsyn Bauman.
“It was more of a defensive/midfield game for us, but the girls did really well,” he said, noting the Tigers had good communication and good ball movement. “Once they won the ball, they were able to work it back down the field a little bit. Unfortunately, we couldn't generate much of an attack because we were missing one key player up there."
Ripon downs Campbellsport 5-0
The Tigers entered the game against KML with a little momentum after defeating Campbellsport 5-0 at Ingalls Field last week Friday. The win came a day after Ripon lost to Plymouth 10-0 via the mercy rule.
“It was definitely a good team for us to kind of prepare for Kettle Moraine,” Nankervis said, noting Campbellsport is more at Ripon’s level. “We were able to get some good passes off, good passing lanes, build the girls confidence up especially after coming off of the big Plymouth loss.”
He added that he also was able to get a lot of people involved and was able to move his seniors around a little bit in an attempt to give them some opportunities to score. One of three seniors, Julian, scored her first career goal in the sixth minute as she took a pass from fellow senior Nodolf and found the net.
Not even a minute later, Nodolf found a streaking Ellerie Rost on a corner kick and the freshman was able to hit the ball into the back of the net for her first career goal. Bauman then added another goal in the 30th minute on a nice pass from Katelyn Story, while Nodolf and Summer Anadell scored unassisted goals in the 34th and 63rd minutes, respectively, to give the Tigers the 5-0 lead that they won the game by.
Nankervis noted the score could have been more lopsided in the Tigers favor, but once they jumped out to a 3-0 lead he started to substitute players and shift them to different positions as for him it’s about players getting touches on the ball and experience and not how many goals can they score in a game.
He stated that the team was trying to get the third senior, Pinnow, a goal but it wasn’t meant to be.
The Ripon head coach estimated that the Tigers controlled possession for probably about 70% of the game and that they finished with 20 shots on goal compared to just one for Campbellsport.
Brooks, who played the second half in goal for Ripon, was able to save the Cougars’ lone shot.
Tiger are no match for Plymouth in 10-0 loss
Ripon was no match for the conference-leading and undefeated Plymouth Panthers last week Tuesday as it fell 10-0 at home. The game ended via the mercy rule in the 64th minute following the Panthers’ 10th goal.
It marks the second time this season that Plymouth (6-0 conference, 13-0 overall), which is ranked No. 3 in the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Division 3 rankings, defeated the Tigers 10-0. It also beat Ripon 10-0 at home in the second game of the season. Plymouth has out-scored its foes this season 110-3.
"That's a team that has been playing soccer for a very long time,” Nankervis said, noting the majority, if not all, of the Panthers players compete outside of the high school season together on a club team. “They're very familiar with each other and very well-skilled and in tune with what they're doing … I definitely look for them to go deep in the state tournament, and they're probably one of the best teams I've ever seen play on the girls' side for sure."
Plymouth wasted no piling up goals last week as it scored seven times in the first 20 minutes. It added one more goal in the first half and then scored the two in the first 20 minutes of the second to end the game.
The Tigers got off one shot as Bauman was able to get behind the defense, but was unable to finish.
Outside of that it was all Panthers as Nankervis noted they controlled about 75% of the possession.
Ripon will try to pick up its first playoff victory in at least 10 years, if not ever, Tuesday when it hosts the rival Berlin Indians at 4 p.m. at Ingalls Field. It won its first two games against Berlin this year 3-0.
The winner of the game will face the top-seeded Plymouth Panthers Thursday on the road.
"If we want our season to continue, we've got to handle our business against Berlin for the third time this year,” Nankervis said, noting it is a “very winnable” game. “I'm looking for the same result [as the first two games against Berlin]; hopefully a few more goals ... and try to get some more people involved and just keep the pedal to the metal to build some momentum to have a competitive game against Plymouth."