The Ripon High School Tiger girls’ soccer team played its most competitive game with the Winneconne Wolves since at least 2011 last week Thursday, losing 3-0 on the road.
The Tigers had lost nine of their past 12 games against the Wolves, including the past four, by 10 goals or more. The previous closest game was a 5-0 loss back in 2015.
While Ripon head coach Steve Nankervis admitted that Winneconne is a young team that is rebuilding as well, he was pleased with how his team was able to hang in the game.
“They definitely have more skill than us just because of their experience and playing together at the different club levels, indoor soccer outside of the high school season,” he said. “It was good not to get handled by Winneconne like we have had the past four, five years."
Two of Winnecone’s three goals were scored by senior Megan Kleinheinz, while the other came from freshman Callee Fink. Nankervis noted all three goals were good shots.
The first came in the 10th minute on about a 22-yard shot that beat goalkeeper Hailee Scheier high to the far past. Ripon then didn’t allow another goal until the 56th minute, when on a set piece the Wolves found the top backing of the net. They then added their third goal in the 59th minute on a shot that Scheier saved, but her momentum carried her into the goal.
“Nothing cheap; they were definitely well taken, well-struck balls,” Nankervis said of the goals.
Winneconne finished the game with 15 shots on goal, with Scheier recording 12 saves. Nankervis noted the sophomore goalkeeper also grabbed some corner kicks out of the air.
"She made some good saves,” the Ripon coach said. “Our defense actually played pretty well, too. We're finally stepping to the ball and through the ball, so they were picking her up a little bit.”
Ripon did have a chance to score its first goal against the Wolves in more than 10 years late in the game as it had two opportunities where it had one-on-ones with the goalkeeper, but it waited a step too long before taking the shot and the goalie was able to come out and make the saves.
“That game could have looked a little bit differently if we would have capitalized on those two later opportunities, but unfortunately their keeper made some good plays on us,” Nankervis said.
Ripon falls to Chargers 6-0
The Tigers got off to a rocky start against a much more experienced Kettle Moraine Lutheran (KML) Charger team last week Thursday and could not recover en route to a 6-0 home loss.
They allowed four goals in the first half, which included two in the first 5 minutes and 5 seconds of the contest, before settling down and giving up just two more goals the remainder of the game.
"The first half was not pretty for us,” Nankervis said. “We gave up three goals in those first 23 minutes and they got their fourth goal there in the 36th minute. We just weren't closing spaces as far as stepping to them. And we were losing track of them, too, in the sense of they're just running right past us and our defensive midfielders weren't staying with the runners into the box."
He added that the second half was much better for the Tigers and that KML didn’t just sub in all of its younger players in either but rather kept the pressure on them. The two goals they allowed came in the 70th minute on a penalty kick that Scheier got her hands on and then in the 79th minute.
The Chargers had a lot of other opportunities to score as they finished with 39 shots, 21 of which were on goal. Scheier finished with 16 saves.
“Hailee's been solid,” Nankervis said of the sophomore. “She is a hockey goalie by nature ... so for her to step in and make some of the saves she's making, she's doing a really good job. Now, we just need to try to find some offense to support her effort in the goal."
Ripon will try to find that offense Tuesday, when it welcomes the Waupun Warriors.
It is a rematch of a game from last week Monday that the Tigers lost 6-2, due in part to a four-goal flurry early in the second half.
"Just improve upon what we did the first time against them,” Nankervis said of his hopes for the contest. “We got them at home on our field, so I think the game should look a little bit differently. It's a team we can compete with; we were able to score some goals on them and had our opportunities that first time around with them. I'm just looking for a good competitive game, some scoring on our end and trying to eliminate that flurry of goals in a short amount of time, and to weather the full 90 minutes.”
The game is slated to begin at 4:45 p.m. at Ingalls Field.