KINNIKINNICK — The regular season wasn’t too kind towards Zane Trace’s girls soccer program. But tournament play started off on the right foot.
The Pioneers (6-10) controlled every aspect of Monday’s game, strung opportunities together, and cashed in as they collected a 3-0 victory over Chesapeake in a Division III sectional semifinal.
“We’ve struggled with connecting passes all year, but the last couple practices have been great,” Zane Trace senior Alexis Guffey said. “We connected those passes much better, possessed the ball better than we have and I think that’s what allowed us to get the win.”
The Pioneers launched more than 25 shots on the evening, but couldn’t quite get the perfect angle on most, missing potential goals just to the right of the net most of the night.
However, they struck early and scored all three goals in the first half.
Guffey got the scoring started when she took a pass from Lauren Lane and connected from 15 yards out for a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the action.
“Lauren passed me the ball, so I cut it back, then cut it back again, and my head finally came up to see where I was,” Guffey said. ‘I had hit the crossbar earlier, so I put it in the corner this time. I’d been trying to do that all season, and I finally did it.”
For the next 25 minutes, Zane Trace continued to have open looks at the net but couldn’t cash in on those chances. Additionally, Chesapeake’s keeper was holding firm and came up with one save after another.
But when she let one save trickle out of her hands, the Pioneers capitalized.
The ball ricocheted to the feet of Baily Dixon, who found a small opening to connect on a goal for a 2-0 lead.
“Abby [Guffey] kicked it, I saw the goalie had dropped it and the ball went behind her,” Dixon said. “Honestly, I felt like I was kicking the goalie even though I didn’t kick her and I just nudged it right in.”
Just minutes later, Chesapeake was called for a handball and Savannah Addy found the left corner for the third and final goal of the night to seal the win for the Pioneers.
Zane Trace returns to action on Thursday in a Division III sectional final at North Adams.
The Green Devils already own an 11-1 victory over the Pioneers back in the team’s season opener. But Zane Trace is confident things will be different this time.
“All season, we’ve had the saying, ‘Prove them wrong,’ because nobody thought we were going to be good this year,” Guffey said. “Getting beat by 10 goals the last time we played North Adams sucked. But they aren’t 10 goals better than us and I think if we play together like we have been the last few games, then we can pull it off.”