GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Playing strong out of the gates, the Green Bay women’s soccer team used its offensive grit to churn out two first half goals and top Oakland, 2-0, in its first conference game of the season on Friday afternoon at Santaga Stadium.
The win improved Green Bay to 4-3-3 overall and 1-0-0 in the Horizon League. Conference newcomer Oakland dropped to 4-5-1 and 0-1-0 in the Horizon.
"It was big for our girls to start the conference season with a win," said head coach Trevor Warren. "We played well and today helped to set the tone for the rest of the season, especially with how strong we are at home."
A persistent Heidi Hartmann (Plymouth, Minn.) started the scoring in the fifth minute. Hartmann kept chipping away at Oakland keeper Stephanie Bukovec, fighting to put three shots on goal that kept deflecting off Bukovec before she finally collected the rebound on the third shot and chipped it over the keeper for a 1-0 advantage.
Renee Therrien (Winnipeg, Manitoba) nearly added her first goal of the season in the 18th minute, but her shot from 18 yards out ricocheted off the post and Oakland was able to clear the ball to quell the offensive threat.
Persistence paid off again to close the first half, as Hannah Kernen (Belleville, Wis.) put a shot on goal in the 43rd minute. Bukovec mishandled the shot, losing it behind her and Kernen kept on the attack, hopping over Bukovec and tapping the ball home to add to the lead, 2-0.
The Phoenix set the tone in the first half, putting seven of its nine shots on goal, compared to four total shots with two on goal for the Golden Grizzlies.
Green Bay played more defensive minded in the second half but still managed to put five shots on the board, including a breakaway from Hartmann that sailed just wide of the net in the 85th minute. Oakland stepped up its offensive pressure and tallied 10 shots in the second stanza, forcing Green Bay keeper Nastacia Behle (St. Paul, Mo.) into save situations on half of the shots.
However, the defense held strong and earned the fourth shutout of the season.
For the game, shots were even at 14, while Oakland owned a 2-0 edge in corner kicks. Behle played the entire game in net, making seven saves to earn her second win of the season.
Green Bay returns to action on Sunday, facing former conference foe Loyola at 1 p.m. at Santaga Stadium.
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