The once high-scoring Platteville girls’ varsity soccer team (the same club that scored 61 goals in 18 matches a year ago) managed just two goals in two conference matches last week. However, that limited offensive production proved to be just enough to score one conference victory and one league tie.
The Hillmen, who have been battling a team-wide flu bug for the better part of the last two weeks, used shutdown defense and one timely score to pull out a 1-0 win at Galena last Tuesday, then followed up that success with a defensive-minded 1-1 draw at second place River Valley two nights later.
Despite the draw Platteville (7-3-2 overall) remained unbeaten and in first place in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference with a 7-0-1 mark. River Valley is 6-5-2 overall, and 5-2-1 in the SWC.
“We have done fine in conference games, but some have been more challenging than in past years,” explained Platteville head coach Mary Hardyman. “River Valley has stepped up their level of play and have given us some great competition. It is good to see the conference becoming more competitive.”
In Tuesday’s 1-0 shutout of the host Pirates, the game’s lone goal was scored in the 78th minute by Platteville freshman Cassie Hamer on a nice pass from junior Brei Reuter.
Senior Jill Wetter made five saves to earn the win in net filling in for all-conference junior goalie Ashley Fitzgerald, who missed two straight matches with the flu.
On Thursday afternoon senior Sam Hamer scored on an assist by Taylor Pagliaro in the first 2 minutes and 20 seconds, but the Hillmen offense couldn’t find the net the rest of the game, which included two scoreless 10 minutes overtime sessions.
River Valley’s Brianne Frank’ tied the match in the 43rd minute.
Fitzgerald returned to the Hillmen lineup and made six saves in the tie.
The Hillmen have have dominated league play with defense, outscoring their eight conference opponents 19-6. Conversely Platteville has struggled mightily on both sides of the ball in outside of league play, having been outscored in its four non-conference matches 19-2.
“Our defense is strong and hascaused 95 offsides calls this year so far. But our offense is still having difficulty finding the back of the net,” explained coach Hardyman. “Finding the best chemistry between players and combinations has been a challenge. We are striving for everyone to be at their best play in each game.”
While Platteville has gotten by so far in league play with its stingy defense, Hardyman admits that if her team is to hang on and win a seventh straight SWC title it must find more consistent offense.
“Our sooting has to be more accurate, and we need to get the ball behind the defense more,” explained the 11th-year coach. “Our passing also needs to be more accurate so that we can cross the ball and use all positions on the field to score.”
Platteville returns to action Thursday at Prairie du Chien (2-9-1, 0-6-1 SWC). This Saturday the Hillmen will host the annual six-team Platteville Invitational beginning at 9 a.m.
Plattevilie 1, Galena 0
(from Tuesday, May 1 @ Galena)
Platteville 0 1 - 1
Galena 0 0 - 0
First half - none.
Second half - P: Cassie Hamer (Brei Reuter) 78:00.
Saves - P: Jill Wetter 5; G: Smith 7. Shots on Goal - P: 7; G: 7. Corner kicks - P: 3; G: 0.
Platteville 1, River Valley 1
(from Thursday, May 3 @ River Valley)
Platteville 1 0 0 - 1
River Valley 0 1 0 - 1
First half - P: Sam Hamer (Taylor Pagliaro) 2:20.
Second half - RV: B. Frank 42:24.
Saves - P: Ashley Fitzgerald 6; RV: Klubertanz 3. Shots on Goal - P: 5; RV: 7. Corner kicks - P: 4; RV: 7.