by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The surging Rogers Royals tallied three second-half goals and scuttled their section and neighborhood rival Elk River 3-1 on Saturday in Elk River.
“This is a big win for us for for the section, and going into St. Michael on Tuesday, it helps us carry our momentum,” said Rogers coach Holly Sutton.
The Royals (9-4) have won eight straight, six by shutout. They are 6-0 in the Mississippi 8 and will play at St. Michael-Albertville (4-0-3 in conference) on Tuesday, where they could wrap up the conference title and section top seed.
The Elks (6-6-1) led 1-0 at the half on a goal by Sydney Olson. The junior defender swooped in for the rebound after Royal goalie Lydia Hubert-Peterson stopped a free kick but dropped the ball, which was probably slippery with the turf wet from rain prior to the game.
“That was one of those unfortunate goals, and we were bummed, because we wanted the shutout,” said Sutton. “But we’ll take it (the win).”
The game turned after the Elks were called for tripping a player in the box early in the second half and Tessa Quintavalle ripped the penalty kick past a diving Meagan Marsh.
Miranda Anderson put Rogers ahead with a goal after a scramble in front of the net, and Jenna Breseman made it 3-1 by scoring on a sprint toward the net with a pass from Heather Kilber.
“This is a personal one,” said Quintavalle, about the Elk-Royal rivalry. “It was fun … We had to have a lot of drive. We wanted it. We have the depth we need, and we used it. We are a solid team.”
Rogers’ last win over the Elks was 2010, when they were unbeaten state champs. The following year, the Elks beat Rogers in overtime in the first round of playoffs. The Elks beat them again last year.
Logan Daulton, who leads the Elks with 11 goals, didn’t dent the net on this afternoon, shadowed all game by sophomore defender Abbie Gearou. Daulton had about four shots, including a header from eight yards that just missed.
Sutton said she changed the center defensive mid position by putting Gearou there to make Daulton.
“As long as we could cover Logan, our defense would adjust,” said Sutton. “Any time Abbie was under pressure we wanted Pip (defensive anchor Maddie Pippen) to step up, but our biggest focus was on team defense, not one particular player, because they have quite a few key players.”
Rogers stats had 15 saves by Hubert-Peterson.
Elk coach Brian Steuter said it was a “frustrating” game, starting with the tripping call which he felt was a questionable one. Also, the Elks lost third-year starter Rachel Maynahan, a senior midfielder, with an ankle injury early in the second half along with soph defender Liz Holien with a hip flexer.
“With two girls out we had to move some people around,” he said. “Rachel has been a rock for us all year and you saw what happened in the second half. We haven’t had to replace her before. Rogers probably has injuries, too, though.”
Quintavalle,who’s 2-for-2 on PK’s this year, was nursing an ankle sprain but played as much as she could.
“We have the depth this year to cover for her,” said Sutton.
Rogers was 1-4 before winning eight straight games.
“Our defense has been amazing,” said Quintavalle. “But we also have team-bonded, and our relationships are building off the field, and helping us on field, a lot.”
While Rogers plays at STMA on Tuesday, the Elks will be hosting Champlin Park.