The Zimmerman Thunder came home with a win and a loss from their annual trip to the Iron Range on Saturday.
The Thunder (2-7-1) opened with a 2-0 win over East Range Soccer Co-op (Mountain Iron-Buhl, Virginia, Eveleth-Gilbert, Mesabi) in the morning at Biwabik.
Esko-Carleton, always one of the top teams in Zimmerman’s section, 7A, beat the Thunder 4-0 in the afternoon at Esko.
In the East Range game, the first half was 0-0 as the Thunder thwarted several corner kicks by the hosts early on, the saw their own shots hit “just about every part of the goal other than the net,” said coach Jeff Downing, with the East Range goalie making nice saves.
Kendra Kraabel got the Thunder on the board in the 47th minute, redirecting a cross from Margret Olson from 15 yards out. The Thunder then had several corner kicks and Olson finished one for a goal in the 68th minute, punching the ball through a crowd after Justiine Charles booted it right to the middle of the box.
Zimmerman had good possession in the second half, with defenders, especially Emily Timinski and Tara Bakken, becoming more involved in transition play.
Kraabel, Olson and Charles are usually defenders, but were shifted to “try strengthen the whole field” said Downing.
Abbie Canton was in goal, and got her first shutout when the Thunder thwarted a last-minute run by East Range.
Esko-Carlton got all four goals in the last 10 minutes of the first half, three of them by Caitlin Lilly and the fourth by Kadee Karkkainen.
In goal for the Thunder in the first half was freshman Brooke Salo, making her first start. Salo got roughed up a few times and couldn’t play the second half, with Charles and Ashley Johnson sharing the duties. Downing credited Salo with several good saves in the first 30 minutes while defenders Bakken and Timinski playing well.
“We executed many successful offside traps to thwart the speedy attackers,” said Downing.
The Thunder defenders and midfielders were pushed hard but held the score at 4-0 in the second half.
“There is a chance we may face them again in playoffs,” said Downing, “so we will work out some kinks and do our best to create more offense.”
Zimmerman will host Becker on Tuesday.