The Tomah High School girls soccer team played like a team excited to get outdoors.
Coach Justina Anderson’s squad opened its season Tuesday with a 9-0 victory at La Crosse Logan and returned home and lost a 1-0 match to a very good West Salem team at Veterans Field.
The two Mississippi Valley Conference contests opened the season for the Timberwolves, who had three nonconference home games against Marshfield, Reedsburg and Baraboo snowed out.
Anderson said her team was motivated after a frustrating string of cancellations and indoor practices.
“I think it was just the ambition and excitement of getting out on the field and playing a game,” Anderson said.
She said the motivation was evident in both games, even though they ended with different results. The Timberwolves played an even contest with a West Salem squad that was 11-3 in the MVC and hung a pair of 3-1 defeats on Tomah last season.
The contest was tied for the first 74 minutes until McKenah Olson busted loose on a breakaway and shoved a shot just past the extended palm of Tomah goalkeeper Lindsey Conway for the game’s only goal. Two minutes later, West Salem nearly took a 2-0 lead when a Panthers’ attacker headed a corner kick over the top crossbar.
Most of the final 14 minutes were played in the Tomah attacking zone. The Timberwolves came close to scoring in the 86th minute. After three minutes of sustained pressure, Hannah Drinkman shook a West Salem defender deep in the goalkeeper’s box. However, she wasn’t able to get square with the net and pushed a diagonal shot that slid inches past the left goalpost.
“I’m really, really happy with the way we played today,” Anderson said. “We were on their side most of the game, and there was an even amount of shots. They just had a couple of players who had more speed than our defense was used to.”
Conway finished with seven saves.
At La Crosse Logan, the Timberwolves scored eight goals in the first 49 minutes before a player from Logan knocked home Tomah’s ninth goal.
Abbey Larsen scored Tomah’s first goal of the season in the ninth minute and finished with two goals. Deidre Martin also scored two goals, while Conway, Kristen Kane, Maleah Fowler and Cassie Lasko had one goal each.
Kane had two assists, and Fowler and Rachel Venner both had one.
“They were working together, and their passes were clicking,” Anderson said. “We had some really nice assists to get the ball into the goal.”
She said her players are developing a sense of teamwork.
“We’re not just swinging and kicking,” Anderson said. “We’re really working on that team aspect − one player can’t win the game for us.”
None of Tomah’s first three matches have been rescheduled. The Timberwolves return to action Tuesday for a MVC match at Sparta starting at 4 p.m. They return home Thursday, April 19 to host Holmen in a 5 p.m. start at Veterans Field.