by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The Rogers Royals were hoping to cap an unbeaten week during an otherwise difficult season, and the Elk River Elks were hoping to salvage one win during a week with five starters out.
The two Highway 101 neighbors had settle for a 2-2 draw on Saturday in Rogers.
“It would have been nice (to go 3-0) but you’ve got to finish,” said Rogers coach Holly Sutton. “But two wins and a tie is a good week. Elk River is a great team, with good depth, so they are tough even with a couple key players out. We will perhaps see them again in the playoffs.”
Rogers (5-7-2) beat Minneapolis Southwest 1-0 and Cambridge-Isanti 3-0 before stalemating with the Elks.
Jenna Trochill scored in the first half, and Sydni Grover scored in the second half, the latter a perfectly placed missive from the left side, over the goalie’s head and against the far post, bouncing into the net.
Trochlill, junior forward, had four of the team’s six goals during the week. Rogers has been looking for a scorer all year, with their best shooter, Gabby Moter, battling a hip problem. Moter missed 10 games and played parts of three of the last four, including this one.
“It’s nice to have Jenna (scoring), and Gabby back in the mix, and Kirsten (Heikkinen) is a good hustler, too,” said Sutton. “We just have to get Kirsten to breathe a little before she shoots.”
Heikkinen, usually the fastest player on the field, had a couple breakaways in the second half. She shot high on the first one, and Elk goalie Meghan Marsh was able to leap and get her fingers on the second, tipping it over the crossbar. Heikkenin had another chance in O.T., went low this time and Marsh made the stop.
Meanwhile, fifth-year veteran Storm Keyte, senior midfielder, is shut down for the year, after X-Rays earlier this week showed a foot problem she’s had all season was a fracture.
“So Storm was playing on a broken foot, and she had knee issues, too,” said Sutton. “I told her she has next year to look forward to. She’s going to play at Upper Iowa.”
The Elks (6-6-1) pulled even 1-1 on a penalty kick by Jenna Kively in the second half, after scoring leader Logan Daulton fell hard to the turf when tripped in the box.
“Logan had a hard foul there, and we had practiced PK’s this morning and we are confident with Jenna. She strikes the ball well,” said Elk coach Brian Stueter.
That was the only PK the Elks have attempted this year.
After Grover regained a 2-1 lead for Rogers, the Elks pulled even again when Rachel Mynahan, from about 25 yards out front, booted one over the reach of Rogers goalie Cassidy Stutelberg, who had made several nice saves on the ground.
The Elks were playing their second game with five starters suspended for homecoming week misbehavior. They’ll be back next week. The upside is the Elks were able to give several second-tier players, including goalkeeper Marsh, an extended look and experience.
“It’s good experience for them, changing roles like that,” said Steuter. “It’s one thing to come in and play 10 minutes and just be spark and energy, and it’s another thing when you’ve got to play 60 or 70 minutes and you are tired and you still have to compete. You can’t get tired and get subbed for. They had to fight through it. So that was good for them.”
The Elks were tired at the end and Rogers put some pressure on the goal but couldn’t get the tiebreaker. But that “opened things up on the other end” said Steuter, helping Mynahan score the game-tying goal.
Both teams play in Section 8AA so the game had seedings implications. The Elks are 3-1-2 in the section and Rogers is 0-3-1.
Rogers will play at Monticello on Tuesday. Elk River will play at Champlin Park on Tuesday.