Entering Monday’s matchup at the Muscatine Soccer Complex, there was only a one-game difference between the Muscatine girls soccer team and Davenport Central in the Mississippi Athletic Conference standings.
However, 80 minutes of soccer demonstrated the gap was much wider between the two teams, as Muscatine used crisp passing, a flurry of first-half goals and suffocating defense to blast Davenport Central, 7-0.
“I think we connected very well,” senior Trinity Christy said. “We’ve definitely gotten better throughout the season connecting our passes in the middle and we were successful.”
Christy led the way for the Muskies (7-5, 6-2 MAC) with three goals, including the Muskies’ first goal in the eighth minute off a pass from fellow senior Vada Fridley.
“My teammates helped me a lot with their passing and finding me,” Christy said. “I couldn’t have done it on my own.”
The Muskies missed chances over the next 10 minutes to extend their lead and had multiple shots sail above goal. Head coach Nate Meineke felt his team started “a little slow,” and was “a little ragged,” early in the contest. However, that changed in a hurry, as the Muskies knocked in three goals in one minute to take a commanding 4-0 lead.
“I was actually kind of shocked,” Christy said. “I think one of the goals there was only 19 seconds in between them.”
Sophomore Emma Drawbaugh started the scoring, as her outstretched foot knocked the ball over Davenport Central goalie Haley Brown and into the back of the net off a pass from Meredith Connor.
Moments later, an aggressive attack led to a free kick for freshman Grace Bode, which she converted. Then, with the Blue Devils reeling, freshman Meredith Connor set up Christy for her second goal of the game for a 4-0 lead.
“When you get your foot on the throat you have to keep pushing,” Meineke said. “Don’t let up because if you give up one goal to them they’re back in the game and momentum shifts. Keep scoring, there’s no reason to stop.”
And the Muskies didn’t stop, as sophomore Emma Zillig knocked a goal home just eight minutes later for a 5-0 lead.
The attack continued in the second half, too, as Muscatine finished the game with 16 shots on goal.
“The second half we talked a lot about making sure we’re two or three touches, let’s move the ball quicker,” Meineke said. “Keep them on one side and as soon as we get the ball explode on the other side and attack on that next level.
“We had more opportunities than we typically do because we were switching fields.”
Freshman Perla Rios scored in the 52nd minute to give Muscatine a 6-0 lead over Davenport Central (5-5, 4-4 MAC). Just three minutes later, Drawbaugh assisted on Christy’s third goal of the game to give her a hat trick. Meineke said the senior is “doing everything we’re asking,” from her outside position.
Defensively, Monday was similar to most of the Muskies’ wins this season, as they pitched a shutout for the fifth time in their seven wins. Opportunities were few and far between for the Blue Devils, as they managed just two shots on goal and zero corner kicks.
“(Grace) Bode, who is a freshman, does a great job in the center of the field,” Meineke said. “We have two seniors on the outside in Vada (Fridley) and Emmie Smith that solidify it.”
Meineke is hopeful Monday’s lopsided win can be a springboard for a team that’s now won two in a row after losing four of five games.
“We had a rough couple of weeks in the middle of the season,” Meineke said. “Coming towards the end we’re hoping this is the catalyst to see what our potential is.”