Rangers accelerate scoring attack in short orderSeptember 17, 2013
By JOSEPH FANELLI
Herald Sports Writer
DUBOIS — Soccer is not basketball. Height is normally not a critical attribute of any soccer player, so there can be pardon, at least initially, if there is no sense of awe after seeing 5-foot-3 Forest Park forward Madisyn Hunt.
But as soon as she starts playing, Hunt looks as if she could be 6-foot-3.
The freshman and the rest of the tiny Ranger attack held off a punchy Northeast Dubois squad Monday to secure a 4-2 win in Dubois. Hunt led the way with three goals, her second hat trick in three games, and gave Forest Park its second consecutive win for the first time this season.
Hunt is the leader of a Ranger front line that isn’t going to win many pickup basketball games. Along with Hailei Gehlhausen, who scored a goal of her own, Cassie Dilger on the outside and Madison Knies, no Ranger attack is much taller than about 5-5. Their offense style is predicated on speed and keeping things on the ground.
“We either play to feet or through balls,” Ranger coach Amanda Gogel said. “Even on our corner kicks, it’s hard to get the girls to use their heads. I have to pull two of my backs up.”
The speed though isn’t a problem. Both of Hunt’s two first-half goals came on plays where she simply outran defenders. On the first, Hunt stole the ball about 30 yards from the goal and scored on an easy one-on-one finish against Jeep goalie Katie Kluesner, who had 16 saves on the night. On Hunt’s second score, a little more than a minute later, she received the ball wide of the 18-yard box, made a quick dribble toward the middle of the field, stumbled as she burst by a Jeep defender and then regained her balance and unleashed a rocket from about 16 yards out.
“(Hunt) is pretty amazing,” Jeep coach Katie Layou said. “I even put someone just on her; they played nowhere else. She’s pretty unstoppable.”
The Jeeps (2-4-1) were not without their own offensive success. After struggling to create chances in the first half, midfielder Kendra Schoering took a gamble on a long, high-arching shot that caught goalie Tabitha Steckler out of position and sneaked in over her head for the goal, cutting the Ranger lead to one. Schroering was mobbed by her team at midfield.
“It felt amazing to get it in finally,” Schroering said. “I’ve been working on it and I hit it just right. It went right over her hand, just like it was supposed to.”
The Jeeps scored one more goal, a quick shot by forward Bri Frazier after positioning herself just outside the 6-yard box. Even with the loss, Layou commended her team’s second-half effort and willingness to play to the end, especially after the Jeeps’ loss to Jasper last week when the Wildcats outscored Northeast Dubois 6-0 in the second half.
“They go into the game looking at the name of a team and don’t necessarily play as hard as they should. I think after a couple of looks, they get more active and go towards the ball a lot more,” Layou said.
“It gives them confidence. ... They know they can play with these teams, just gives them confidence.”
Schroering, a senior captain, also applauded her team’s effort in the second half.
“We responded just like we needed to,” Schroering said. “Positive, not looking down when we came into the second half. Starting over, we knew we could come back.”
Still, it was a bit too late, especially against a Forest Park offense hitting its stride at midseason. And again, Hunt is the motor moving the Rangers forward.
“Madisyn has a gift,” Gogel said. “Her passes are so quick. Her runs are so much quicker. So our girls are having to play at a quicker speed, and I think you can tell by the midpoint of the season that our play has gotten quicker. I’m not saying that is all because of Madisyn, but our speed of play has increased so much from the beginning of the season.”
After the Jeeps cut it to one, Madison Knies recorded an assist with a quick dish to Gehlhausen, who buried the ball in the right corner of the net. The goal, along with her play all game, earned Gehlhausen, who had been frustrated with her playing time recently, her second goal in as many games and a starting position.
“She’s been down on herself lately about not playing,” Gogel said. “We played Jeffersonville (on Saturday) and she was awesome. She won a starting position today and just getting her to be more confident in her shot is what we’re working on now.”
Hunt added her third and final goal in the second half, a long boot that may have caught Kluesner off-guard, especially after the way Forest Park (3-6-1) attacked the net all night. The lone low note for Forest Park in the win came as Dilger, the starting midfielder, had to be assisted off the field after injuring her ankle in a scuffle for the ball with Jeep defender Kaytlynn Dodd. Gogel seemed assured, though, that she would have a quick recovery.
“We’ll get some ice on it and let her rest tomorrow,” Gogel said. “(Dilger is) tough. She’ll want to play through anything.”
Contact Joseph Fanelli at firstname.lastname@example.org
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