MENDOTA — No matter the sport, it’s always tough to win a game away from your home field and when you add to that having to battle the difficult, strategy-changing weather conditions, it wasn't going to be easy for the Ottawa girls soccer team when it headed north for a nonconference game against Mendota on Saturday.
Though the home-standing Lady Trojans were able to overcome the windy, cold environment and strike first, that was all of the scoring that Mendota could muster against the Lady Pirates, who answered that score with five unanswered goals in taking a 5-1 win here at Richard Phalen Stadium.
OHS junior forward Kaitlin Falaney ended the day with three goals and and two assists, while freshman forward Reagan Shea added two scores and Skyler VanMill three assists for the winners (2-2-1).
“I think playing in the conditions on the turf were a challenge for us. With a 30-mile an hour sustained wind, it is tough to get an understanding of that,” said Ottawa coach Sean Porter. “Once we got things sorted out, we started to posses the ball and find what we could do. We like to play the ball in the air and that wasn’t possible in the first half. We had to figure out a different style of play. We started to find some openings and found the back of the net.”
In the fourth minute of the match, Mendota's Daisy Arteaga sent a pass to Amellia Bromenschenkel, who was able to put the ball into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. However, one thing that Ottawa was able to do with regularity was to overcoming the strong winds to connect passes from their back four defensive line and onto the feet of Falaney and Shea as they were racing down the pitch.
That helped Ottawa to erase Mendota’s (2-3-1) one-goal advantage with a pair of goals in just a three-minute stretch.
Falaney found the back of the net in the 33rd minute on another run of play goal off of a pass from VanMill and it was 3-1 in favor of the visitors.
Mendota almost pulled one back in the 39th minutes when Piper Artman put a shot on net but the shot hit the woodwork and bounded away and Mendota was denied a second goal as the half-time buzzer sounded.
In the second half, Ottawa added two more goals to complete the win. Mendota had two free-kicks from the 15-yard and 20-yard lines but they were unsuccessful.
“Kaitlin played with an open mind,” praised Porter. “She saw the field well and had a lot of opportunities and scored three goals and found her teammates for two assists ... We try to use the run of play,” Porter said. “We try to use transition to get our goals from. We found that is the easiest way to score. That was kind of the way we went.”