By Ricky Klaverkamp / Assistant Sports Director / @RKlaverkamp
St. Cloud Apollo girls soccer fought hard yet fell to the Sauk Rapids Rice Storm by a score of 3-1 on Tuesday night.
The Eagles, still in search for their first win since 2018, entered this game on a 400 minute goal drought. Meanwhile, the Storm entered this game on their own goal drought, not having scored in over 240 minutes.
The opening few minutes were filled with back and forth play with neither team able to get a good possession. This lasted until the 7th minute when Storm forward, Gabby Fernholz, was able to find space around the 18. She then ripped a hard shot over netminder Kitana Ackerman for the first goal of the match. This scoreline would hold steady for most of the 1st half with Apollo able to muster minimal offense. The one chance Apollo was able to manufacture came in the 20th minute with a floating shot from Maggie O’Hara. The shot was tough to handle for Maggie Fernholz and it went off her hands and hit the post.
The half looked to end 1-nil however a late flurry from Storm midfielder Emily Starr would see Sauk Rapid triple their lead. In the 35th minute Starr found herself alone along the box and ripped a hard shot that nestled itself inside the net past Ackerman. Starr could not be denied however, and one minute later scored again. This time with a low shot that Ackerman was slow to react to, finding its way under her as she dove to her right. The new scoreline was 3-nil and would remain that way for the rest of the half.
The Eagles came into the second half looking like a brand new team. The offense started generating opportunities early and often. Solina Jasso and Melanie O’Hara teamed up on some through balls to punch through the staunch Storm backline. This led to an early corner kick in the 46th minute. The inswinging ball found its way to ground amidst a mess of bodies inside the six. After some grinding and kicking, the ball eventually landed at the feet of 8th grader Leighton Engel who delivered the final touch to put it into the net. This ended the goal drought for Apollo at 446 minutes.
After that neither team was able to muster a true opportunity for the rest of the match. Both goalies faced shots that were either weak rollers, launched right at them, or high and wide shots. Both backlines played really good defense for the rest of the match with no odd man breaks or any player getting past them. This led to shots taken from close to 20 yards out from goal that were high and wide. The game would end with the score 3-1.
Apollo now falls to 0-7-0 and 0-5-0 in the CLC. Meanwhile Sauk Rapids rises to 2-5-1 and 2-4-1 in the CLC. Sauk Rapids returns home on Saturday to take on the Monticello Magic. The Eagles finish off their 3 game homestand with a game against ROCORI on Thursday. That game can be caught live on the KVSC Sports Stream.