Beltran belting ball into back of net
Emily Beltran has had a hot foot.
The Brainerd Warriors junior erupted for seven goals and 10 total points in back-to-back games last week, earning her distinction as Central Lakes Conference Performer of the Week ending Sept. 24.
“I don’t know,” Beltran said when asked the reason for her recent scoring outburst. “At the beginning of the season I was kicking it more to the goalie. I don’t know what happened. All of a sudden I started not kicking it to the goalie.”
Warriors coach Ricky Lacerte said Beltran usually gets significant shots on goal in each game.
“We’ve really been addressing, in practice and before games, that we need to up our goals to shots on goal ratio,” he said. “Emily’s working on getting to the defense and putting shots in those sweet spots, the lower left and upper-right corners. The problem was she was putting the ball in the goalie’s hands. With all the effort she puts into dribbling through the defense, that can get frustrating.”
Beltran’s explosion began Sept. 20 with three goals and an assist at Fergus Falls.
“Me and Hannah Lundstrom have been working together really well,” she said. “We’re working off of each other. I just happened to be in the right spots at the right time.”
Beltran struck for four goals and collected two assists against Willmar two days later.
“Actually, on one of those goals I thought I was offside,” she said. “But I just kept going. The second half one of the goals should have been Hannah’s. She passed to me. Another one the defensive person kicked it right to me and I one-touched it into the goal.”
The Beltran-Lundstrom connection has become lethal. Lundstrom has six goals and 11 total points.
“They have become a dynamic duo the past week and a half,” Lacerte said. “When you have two sweepers with two different talents they have a tendency to work as individuals. But once they realize they can work together they can maximize their talents.”
Beltran agrees that Lundstrom has been instrumental in her success.
“This is our first year playing together,” she said. “We played a couple games in (Lakes Area Youth Soccer Association) together, but it was only five minutes here, five minutes there. We’ve started working well together.
“Hannah’s so fast. I can send the ball up to her and she will get to it, no matter what.”
Beltran is far from a one-dimensional player. She’s also an unselfish passer.
“I told her the best way to become a better scorer is to become a better assister,” Lacerte said. “The reason for that is teams start to quickly realize who the best dribblers are on the field, who are the biggest threats. If you continue to take the ball and try to penetrate you’re easy to shut down. You can shut those players down with a couple defenders, then everything changes. When you hand off to other threats, in this case Hannah Lundstrom, it opens up Emily’s game.
“In a one-on-one battle I wouldn’t want to go up against Emily Beltran. Opening up her passing and assist game allows her a little more one-on-one, which she wins all the time. She’s a beautiful passer. She has a touch that you’re born with or you get after years of experience, which allows her to help Hannah as well. Her shot has a lot of power and accuracy behind it.”
Beltran cultivated her skills with the LAYSA U-17 team last summer, scoring five goals in one game.
“(LAYSA), and watching the World Cup, made me love soccer so much more, and I had a really good coach (Sarah Nelson Katzenberger),” she said.
Other notable efforts:
• Sydnie Mauch, volleyball, had 19 kills and 5.5 blocks vs. Tech and 21 kills and 3.5 blocks vs. Sartell.
• Tedi Ramberg, volleyball, had 19 kills and 3 blocks vs. Sartell.
• Nichole Gervenak-Megan Hintz, tennis, are 20-1 at No. 2 doubles.
• Sara Wennerstrand, tennis, is 4-0 in singles matches and 16-2 at No. 1 doubles.