REEDSBURG — Like the chilly evening weather, the Portage/Poynette girls soccer team cooled down Thursday night.
An inability to finish and a lack of communication led to four second-half Reedsburg goals in a 4-0 loss in a Badger North Conference game at Reedsburg Area High School. Portage/Poynette put six shots on goal but was again unable to find the back of the net for the third time in its last four games.
After a scoreless first half, things began to slip away from Portage/Poynette (4-3-0, 0-1-0 Badger North) in the second half. Reedsburg (3-3-0, 1-1-0) ratcheted up the pressure and ultimately broke through just under seven minutes out of the break.
Following a couple of chances, Reedsburg was awarded a penalty kick after senior Julia Korklewski was taken down after getting a shot off inside the box. Portage/Poynette senior goalkeeper Tess Wilson guessed right on Korklewski’s shot that was headed to the left corner and got a hand on the strike but wasn’t able to keep it out as the Beavers went in front 1-0.
“Being behind after that first PK, you saw the girls hang their heads and they needed to come back from that,” Portage/Poynette coach Kathie Mayne said.
That wasn’t the case as Reedsburg continued its relentless pressure, narrowly missing on both a corner kick that was headed off the back line and a free kick that went just wide before the United eventually generated some offense. Junior Abby Leeland gathered a loose ball just outside the 18-yard box at around the hour mark but her shot was easily saved by Reedsburg goalkeeper Mackenzie Wertz.
Portage/Poynette leading scorer Hanna Walters had her own chance shortly after as the senior forward stole the ball from Reedsburg’s Ava Douglas and drove down the left side of the 18-yard box but her far post strike went just wide.
The United failed to create much offense after that as the Beavers began to pile things on, capitalizing on some Portage/Poynette miscues. The Beavers’ continued pressure produced a second goal at 73:48 from freshman Cassidy Klitzke.
Seconds after stinging a rebound off the right post, Klitzke stole a ball off the United’s ensuing goal kick and fired a shot off the far post and in to push the advantage to 2-0. The Beavers quickly extended the advantage to 3-0 as Korklewski put home her second goal just over a minute later at 75:15.
After a miscommunication between Wilson and a United defender, Korklewski pounced on the loose ball and chipped over a sprawling Wilson into the far corner. Another Portage/Poynette defensive breakdown led to the Beavers’ fourth goal 10 minutes later as senior Emma Lichte forced a turnover inside the 18-yard box before waltzing in and firing past Wilson at 85:45 to make it 4-0 and end things.
“I think the girls just weren’t playing together as a team, especially in the second half,” Mayne said. “They were trying to take things on by themselves or just a couple of them, and they needed to come together as an entire unit to be able to move the ball together.”
The poor finish was far from the start Portage/Poynette produced as the United opened the contest the aggressors. Portage/Poynette asserted itself in the early going, often getting deep into the Beavers’ half but failing to get a shot on goal.
Eventually the United got looks on goal but senior Abby Brown’s shot at the 25-minute mark was right at Wertz and junior Gwen Golueke’s effort a minute later was pulled wide. That lack of finishing has really hindered the United in its three losses as they have yet to score during a defeat.
“The first half it was all of us attacking and again we could not put it in the back of the net. That’s definitely one thing we have to work on, our finishing,” Mayne said.
As important as the finishing is, Mayne said that the team’s ability to respond to something negative has to improve.
“How we react to being down in a game changes everything,” she said. “I would like to see that they can finish in practice and if they can finish in a game and come out ahead, then we can take the upper hand.”
REEDSBURG 4, PORTAGE/POYNETTE 0
Portage/Poynette 0 0 — 0
Reedsburg 0 4 — 4
Second half: R — Korklewski, 51:44 (pk); Klitzke, 73:48; Korklewski, 75:15; Lichte, 85:45.
Saves: PP (Wilson) 7, R (Wertz) 6.