Soccer: Thunder girls beat Becker 3-0 in opener; home tourney continues Saturday

Two second-half goals by Brooke Salo and one by Jamie Pensinger lifted the Zimmerman Thunder to a season-opening 3-0 over the Becker Bulldogs at  home Friday evening.

The game was part of the two-day Sandbur Cup tournament , which will conclude Saturday with the Thunder meeting Duluth Marshall at 10:30 a.m. and Grand Rapids at 2:30 p.m. Marshall beat Rapids 3-1 in the other game Friday.

“It’s always nice to get a win,” said coach Jeff Downing , “and when it comes at home in your season opener, it builds excitement and promise for the next game. For us, that next game is only hours away.”

Zimmerman dominated the first 20 minutes, and Becker dominated the last 15 minutes in the first half, with neither able to capitalize with a goal. Becker executed an offside trap 14 times in the first half, foiling runs are by Thunder sophomore attackers Sahr and Cami Bond.

“They were just off on their timing, but managed to make their presence felt,” said Downing.

Adjustments remedied the offside issue in the second half in which the Zimmerman midfield line was very poised in possession of the ball.

The first goal was tallied by Salo, soph midfielder and captain, from a ball played for her by Pensinger, in the 48th minute.

Pensinger, soph midfielder, made it 2-0 in the 65th minute, finishing a pass from soph mid Cassandra Carly. She got the Bulldog keeper to commit to a fake, and put the ball in the back of the net.

Sahr’s relentless pursuit of the ball resulted in a goal in the 71st minute. She caused a Becker defender to fall over the ball and incidentally play it with her hand in the box. Salo came up to put the PK in for the score.

Downing cited three rookie defenders — Sarah Nuebauer, Molly Klieliszewski and Kaitlyn Mason — for good work in the shutout, along with junior goalkeeper  Justine Charles, a fourth-year starter. “Justine did a great job keeping the rookie trio in the right spots,” said the coach.