Sandy strikes less than 10 minutes in to down St. Helens 1-0

Haley Kern delivered the scoring strike, and the Pioneer defense did the rest. Kern netted an early goal to give the Sandy girls’ soccer team a one-goal lead, and the Pioneers kept St. Helens out of the net to earn a 1-0 shutout on Senior Day last Tuesday.

Just six minutes into the match, Kern put Sandy on top. She lined up for a free kick from the left side, about 35 yards out, and lifted the ball high in the air. It cut through the air for a few seconds, though it felt like several minutes, toward the top-right corner. The St. Helens goalkeeper frantically back-pedaled and leapt up with arms extended, but the ball was too high and it found a home in the nylon mesh.

At the time of the goal, neither team expected it to be the only score of the match, and each squad continued to attack. Sandy and St. Helens both made their pushes at the net and had chances to put balls in the net.

St. Helens’ best chance to tie the score presented itself just five minutes after the Pioneers scored. Ashley Giesbers got out in front of the Sandy defense, running even with the right post of the goal. She tried to cross Sandy goalkeeper Kelby Richardson up by firing a shot to the left. The ball sliced through the air on a line, straight for the inside of the left post. Only a diving deflection by Richardson stopped it from going in.

Richardson was tested a few other times in the first half, but stayed perfect and Sandy held a 1-0 lead at halftime. As the second half wore on, and it grew more likely that the Pioneers’ one goal would hold up, St. Helens started to nervously press. The Lions got close occasionally, but more often than not, they got too anxious and harmlessly kicked the ball deep. Sandy’s defense cleared the balls that got close and held the lead to the finish.

Following the victory over St. Helens in the home finale, the Pioneers fell to Liberty on Thursday. Sandy wrapped up the regular season with a trip to No. 1 Sherwood on Tuesday.

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