MEAD — After the path got a little muddied when March spilled over into April, the Mead girls soccer team seems to be riding back on smooth ground as they target the Tri-Valley League title.
It’s still an uphill climb for the Mavericks, sitting behind Skyline and Windsor, but the three-game losing streak that halted a 7-0 start certainly seems to be in the rear-view mirror.
With a full moon rising brightly over the MHS field on Monday night, the Mavericks made it two wins in a row with a 1-0 victory over Frederick, sweeping the season series. Hailey McNellis’s 12th-minute goal into a wide open net stood as the winner, with Mead’s defense continually getting more stingy.
“We have some goals that we want to reach, and we can’t keep losing if we want to go to playoffs,” senior defender Acacia Stephen said. “We had to pick it up, and remember to play as a team.”
“We were on top of it with our defense, and last time (against Frederick) we weren’t quite all together,” said Mead goalie Shayna Maypole, who had six saves. “We took about a week to get back on track and try to fix some of the things we were missing, and I think we’ve come back and have tightened things up a bit.”
The results would indicate as much. After allowing just one goal through seven games to start the year, Mead suffered consecutive losses to Longmont (1-0), Skyline (3-1) and Windsor (also 3-1). Since then, the defense has gotten back to its old ways — simply not allowing balls to get to the net.
Mead (8-3, 6-2) shut out Berthoud last Wednesday, then fended off any and all counters the Warriors offered on Monday.
The lone goal for Mead came as Frederick keeper Shyanna Neu came out to challenge midfielder Morgan Lu in one of the top corners of the box. Lu squirted the ball toward the net and no FHS defenders were around to punch it out.
That made it pretty easy for McNellis to kick it home from inside the goal box. Getting a chance to play up a level from junior varsity, McNellis made it count.
“It’s pretty great to get an open net … I was just at the right place at the right time,” she said. “I think our defense was really good tonight. A lot of those girls on Frederick are fast, and we kept up with them and didn’t let them turn. Just kept it strong.”
Mead had a goal in the second half waived off as it was determined Neu’s ability to field the ball was impeded, and the Mavericks had one other real close chance to make it 2-0 when Danielle Higgins’ header with 13 minutes left skirted just wide of the post.
For Frederick (3-6-1, 2-5-1), the offense has hit a wall, scoring just once in the past 260 minutes. The Warriors have been in all but two games, and coach Chad Eisentrager said he feels the girls are still battling each and every time out.
“I think today we were better than the first time we played them, and I think we played a really good game,” Eisentrager said. “The girls are doing a lot of things right, it’s just a matter of putting the ball in the back of the net. We’ve been kind of running out of ideas once we get into the attacking third.”
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Mead 1, Frederick 0
At Mead HS
Frederick (3-6-1, 2-5-1) 0 0 — 0
Mead (8-3, 6-2) 1 0 — 1
Goals (assists) — Mead: Hailey McNellis (Morgan Lu), 12th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Frederick: Shyanna Neu (80-1-6); Mead: Shayna Maypole (80-0-6).