Girls Soccer: First-half spurt leads Frontier over Pioneer

  • Frontier’s Jessica Wrisley shoots past Pioneer goalie Anna Picard to score in the first half Tuesday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Natalie Denkiewicz winds back to score against Pioneer in the first half Tuesday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Kaitlin Mackin (17) hugs Natalie Denkiewicz after scoring against Pioneer in the first half Tuesday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Claudia Rajbali (5) fires a shot past Pioneer defenders Sarah Johnson, left, Charlotte Kahler (20) and Stephanie Scoville (16) in the first half Tuesday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Natalie Denkiewicz sends in a corner kick against Pioneer in the first half Tuesday in Northfield.  STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer’s Jordin Hubbard, left, and Frontier’s Anna Petrin fight for possession in the second half Tuesday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Claudia Rajbali (5) winds back to shoot against Pioneer in the first half Tuesday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Natalie Denkiewicz, left, cuts around Pioneer defender Tayla Sadlowski in the first half Tuesday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Natalie Denkiewicz fires a shot to score against Pioneer in the first half Tuesday in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 10/1/2019 10:02:27 PM

NORTHFIELD — Three first-half goals propelled the Frontier Regional girls soccer team past Pioneer, 4-0, in an independent match in Northfield on Tuesday. 

The Red Hawks dominated possession from start-to-finish, keeping the ball on the Panther side of the field for nearly the entire first 40 minutes of play. 

At the half, Frontier had a 19-1 shot advantage. 

“We tried a new formation out to see if we could get some offense generated,” Red Hawk coach Phil Pittelli said. “They seemed to really like it during practice this week and it worked well on possession and getting a lot of shots. Before, we were getting a lot of possession but we weren’t getting scoring opportunities. This was a game we knew we could try it out on and it was a good risk to take.”

After an array of scoring chances that weren’t converted, Frontier found the back of the net in the 19th minute, as Natalie Denkiewicz sent a ball into the box from the corner, where sophomore Kaitlyn Mackin hammered it home for the first goal of the game. 

The Red Hawks struck again two minutes before the halftime whistle blew, as a series of sharp passes put the ball on the foot of Makayla Santos, who turned and found Denkiewicz cutting to the net. The senior received the pass and got the ball past Pioneer goalie Anna Picard to make it 2-0. 

Just trying to get to halftime down 2-0, the Panthers turned the ball over near midfield right after the goal, and Denkiewicz sent the ball up to a streaking Jessica Wrisley, who beat a pair of Pioneer defenders to get a one-on-one with Picard. 

Wrisley slowed down and collected herself before burying the shot into the bottom right corner of the net to make it a 3-0 game going into the half. 

Even with the lead, Pittelli felt his squad left goals off the scoreboard. 

“Our finishing is still rough,” Pittelli said. “In practice, we’re working on accuracy. When we get to the game, we’re taking our time. We feel like we have time, where we’re working on incorporating pressure and going through the ball faster.” 

Frontier tallied its fourth goal six minutes into the second half when Wrisley found open Denkiewicz in the box, and she turned and blasted a shot on net, with Picard unable to corral the shot as it bounced into the net for a Red Hawk goal. 

Frontier would tone down the offensive pressure from there, but still outshot the Panthers 7-1 in the second half. 

“We’ve been having a little trouble in the final third this season,” Red Hawk Victoria Speth said. “This game, we played super well. We put some of the goals away, which was nice.”

When these two teams played a year ago, it ended in a 3-3 draw. 

With Frontier playing in a tough Pioneer North division, Pioneer coach Nikki Pullen knew her team would need to bring its best to earn a win at home, but didn’t feel it came with the energy needed to beat a tough team like the Red Hawks. 

“We played them last year, and I was super happy with the outcome,” Pullen said. “We were not as competitive as a team last year, yet we tied them. It’s the same team we see here today, we know what to expect but it’s whether we mentally want to show up.”

Defensively, Frontier was lights out throughout Tuesday’s contest. 

The Red Hawks didn’t allow goalie Siomara Green to see one shot on goal, as the defenders in front of her were able to clear the ball out of harms way before any danger presented itself. 

“We played awesome on defense,” Speth said. “We were moving really well and we shut them down. We really tracked back on defense and were able to read the balls well.”

When the Frontier offense is scoring and the defense plays like it did today, which is consistent with how its played all season, the Red Hawks know they are a tough out for any opponent. 

“Our defense has been solid,” Pittelli said. “Our defense needs help from our offense. We’re not going to win 1-0 games all the time.”

Frontier looks to earn another win Thursday, taking on Southwick, while Pioneer faces off with Mahar on Friday. 

Frontier 4, Pioneer 0

Frontier

3

1

4

Pioneer

0

0

0

Goals: (F) Mackin, Denkiewicz (2), Wrisley.

Assists: (F) Denkiewicz (2), Santos, Wrisley.

Saves: (F) Green 0. (P) Picard 7.


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