Rangers cruise past Vikings in sectional opener

Forest Park's Kenlee Gehlhausen kicks the ball during Tuesday's girls soccer sectional game at Cedar Crest Intermediate School in Bretzville. Forest Park defeated North Posey 13-2. For more photos from the game, click here.

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

BRETZVILLE — The Forest Park girls soccer team couldn’t have asked for a better start to the postseason. The Rangers came out firing on all cylinders, and saw goals from seven different players, as they defeated the North Posey Vikings, 13-2, in Tuesday’s opening round of Class 1A sectional play.

Rangers coach Brad Weyer said the team’s lackluster regular-season finish against Jasper served as a wakeup call for the girls, and they turned their focus to using their four days of preparation time to clean up some areas of their game and work toward becoming the sharpest version of themselves possible for postseason play.

“After we got embarrassed at Jasper last week, it lit a fire under us,” he said. “Finishing was on point tonight. We had a lot of opportunities. We not only took our chances, we made our chances. We had great movement and great rotations in the midfield.”

The Rangers (11-4-1, 6-1) set the tone early with their aggressive presses on the Vikings (5-13, 2-5). They had five shots on North Posey’s goal within the first few minutes of the game. None of them scored, but that didn’t last for long. Senior forward Denai Sicard was the first Ranger on the scoreboard, weaving her way through the Vikings’ defensive line before finding the back of the net. A few minutes later, sophomore midfielder Emma Grundhoefer added a second goal for the Rangers.

Following a lull in the action, Sicard found her way in front of the net once again for her second score and a 3-0 Ranger lead. North Posey scored via penalty kick from junior midfielder Brooke Coleman, but the Rangers responded with goals from senior forwards Emma Louden and Abby Eckert for a 5-1 halftime lead.

Senior midfielder Kenlee Gehlhausen opened the second half with a header for a score, and Sicard struck again a few minutes later to solidify Forest Park’s grip on the game. Louden added to the early outburst with a longshot from the right corner of the box that landed true, and Sicard put in her fourth goal shortly after for a 9-1 edge.

Forest Park's Emma Grundhoefer hugs Abby Eckert after winning Tuesday's girls soccer sectional game at Cedar Crest Intermediate School in Bretzville. Forest Park defeated North Posey 13-2. For more photos from the game, click here.

Senior forward Lauren Jahn scored with her own sniper shot from the left corner of the box, and sophomore forward Layla Weyer racked in a pair of goals in quick succession, as Forest Park ran away with it late. Eckert put in the last Ranger goal with a penalty kick, and Coleman scored again for the Vikings with less than 10 minutes remaining after the conclusion was already decided.

Sicard led all scorers with four goals. Louden, Eckert and Weyer each finished with two. Gehlhausen, Grundhoefer and Jahn had one each.

“We needed this,” Sicard said. “We ended the season on a tough note, and we did exactly what I thought we’d do. We let it sting for the night, then came back and started training. We hit it hard, and then we came out and did what I knew we could do.”

The team is excited to get its first sectional win in such dominating fashion, but the Rangers won’t let one successful performance dull their focus. The Rangers will face the South Spencer Rebels in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Thursday, and they are not inclined to finish on the wrong end of another team’s postseason magic.

“We have to stay humble and hungry,” Weyer said. “I’ll remind them of the Jasper game constantly. I’ll remind them that in sectional, anything can happen. It’s just great to see them fired up, because when they’re fired, that’s when we’re at our best. That’s when we’re at our peak performance.”




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