WILLOUGHBY—Two early goals gave the host South Rebels the early momentum in a 5-0 non-conference win over Independence at Harry E. Winters Stadium on Thursday.
The Rebels had two early shots bounce off the post, but Marina Mlinac made the third shot count as she found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead in the second minute. Mackenzie Hupp made it 2-0 three minutes later and the Rebels benefited from an own-goal midway through the first half that pushed the South lead to 3-0.
“We gave up two goals in the first eight minutes and they were both just off people not getting covered,” said Independence coach Bryan Less. “I told the girls at halftime, the own-goal I can accept because that’s a player in her third year of soccer. She’s trying her best, but she’s going to make physical mistakes. The first two goals were just mental errors. If you’ve been playing soccer for a couple years, and they all have at least, then we shouldn’t be making mental errors.”
South dominated possession in the first half and kept Independence keeper Reni Kaiser busy. She finished the game with 12 saves.
“I thought in the first half, it could have been a lot worse but Erin Zygmunt, Molly Dougherty and Elise Nelson all played real tough in the first half,” Less said. “A lot of other girls caught on and played well in the second half.”
Independence fired off just two shots against South keeper Sarah Turniski, but the Blue Devils held their own in the second half.
South’s Christina Coreno and Emily Mann both scored in the final 40 minutes of play to help the Rebels improve to 5-5-2 overall.
Independence dropped to 6-4-1 with all four losses coming to quality opponents.
“The point of playing good teams like Kirtland and South, we have to get better if we want to compete with decent teams,” Less said. “I told them competing is no longer good enough. We competed the last couple years when the team was weaker but now we have to play to win. We didn’t play to win until it was 3-0.”