Although they played the day prior, the Brainerd Warriors did not look like it as they rolled their way to a 5-0 Central Lakes Conference win over Willmar Thursday, Sept. 16, at Adamson Field.
“I think our depth helped a lot,” Warriors head coach Grant Gmeinder said. “Last night especially, we got to play a lot of kids in that game, you know, so we can keep him fresh for this game. Honestly, yesterday’s game was a little lethargic to start, but we really brought great energy in that second half and I think we saw that translate in the first half of this game.”
Despite some inclement weather prior to kickoff, the game started on time after a lightning delay in between junior varsity and varsity games.
The party got started early for Brainerd, who had a penalty kick a minute into the game. Avery LeMieur missed on the PK, but three minutes later Emma Sheflo scored unassisted to make it 1-0.
“It’s exactly what we talked about,” Gmeinder said of the fast start. “After the long delay in the gym, we found ways to stay busy, so it was good to see that energy right away. It looks like really good coaching because that’s what I was told to do, but it’s all about them bringing it.”
Brainerd made it 2-0 two minutes later when Lexi McElfresh scored her own unassisted goal.
“I think our captains and coaches do a really good job about just reminding us to stay positive and what we can and can’t control,” Eckman said. “It really helped us finish.”
The Warriors added two more goals in the first half both within two minutes of each other.
With just under 10 minutes remaining in the half, Gabby Eckman scored her first of two goals assisted by Sheflo.
“Our passes were just so on point,” Eckman said. “I think that we had a little bit of trouble connecting in the first half, but we really picked it up.”
Two minutes later, Avery LeMieur scored unassisted to make it 4-0 at half.
“I think it makes us a lot harder to prepare for,” Gmeinder said. “I think we are a team that shares the ball well. We have a lot of different people that can put it in the back of the net. We had four different people score tonight. It could've been five if that PK stayed.”
Eckman scored the lone goal in the second half for Brainerd as the Warriors moved to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the Central Lakes Conference.
Willmar did not record a shot on goal while Brainerd fired 16 shots toward Willmar goalie Ella Swenson.
The Warriors will look to make it six in a row against Fergus Falls Tuesday, Sept. 21.
“To have a result like we did today against a quality team that should lead us to good things,” Gmeinder said.
Willmar 0 0 — 0
Brainerd 4 1 — 5
First half: Brd-Emma Shelfo 31:09; Brd-Lexi McElfresh 28:13; Brd-Gabby Eckman (Emma Sheflo 9:50; Brd-Avery LeMieur 8:03
Second half: Brd-Gabby Eckman 9:04
Shots on goal: Brd 16, W 0
Goalkeepers: Brd-Peyton LeMieur (0 saves); W-Ella Swenson (11 saves)
Warriors 5, Willmar 0
Key: Brainerd jumped on the Cardinals early and didn’t look back.
Conference: Brd 4-0, W 3-1-1.
Overall: Brd 5-0, W 3-2-2.
Next: Brainerd at Fergus Falls 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21.
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.