The Lady Comets Soccer program is making huge strides this year, finding themselves in a place to finish with a .500 mark with only two games left. Their 6-6 record is currently marking them as the best Hillcrest team yet, and with two games left, the Comets are eyeing a strong run at playoffs.
The Comets entered a four game home stand following two shutout losses to Bemidji and East Grand Forks. The two road losses saw 14 goals against the Comets, with the Comets failing to score any, likely marking an early-out for the Lady Comets in the section playoffs. But the Lady Comets wouldn't go quietly into the night as they entered their final home series before the homecoming season cap.
The Lady Comets doubled-up Melrose to start the home series, and then took down Crookston in a 3-0 shutout that dazzled fans. The Lady Comets made adjustments in the two games, pushing their front line up in a hard fashion to challenge defenders. This has created early scoring opportunities, where the Comets scored first in both wins within the first ten minutes.
Entering their game against Little Falls, the Lady Comets hoped to go 6-5 before two difficult road matches. A 1-1 tie carried the Comets into overtime. A number of hard shots narrowly missed for Hillcrest, who saw their home series sabotaged by an errant play that sent Hillcrest to the center field to pray with their opponents who would go home with the win.
The Lady Comets turned things around in a strong fashion against Crookston on the road this week. In a game played on a waterlogged field that was sure to slow the game down, Hillcrest rose to the occasion. The slippery conditions didn't seem to bother the Lady Comets, who almost floated on mud as they darted around the field, making very few mistakes defensively and striking passes behind defenders quickly.
Elise Wutka stood out on Hillcrest's defense. She's the first line to buffet oncoming attacks, and thanks to her quick feet she sent many opposing attacks the other way. Receiving Wutka's clearings was a host of students from the Danielsen school in Bergen Norway, Hillcrest's sister school that sends students for a one year experience in the Castle. All six goals came off the foot of a Danielsen student, with 4 of the 5 assists being placed by a Norwegian student.
At the 29th minute, Hannah Engebretsen set her cleats into the mud at the top of the goalie box as teammate Kindra Peterson from Underwood placed a beautiful corner kick in front of the box. Eight minutes after Engebretsen's strike, Lea Austevoll found the back of the net off an assist by Engebretsen.
With a 2-0 lead coming out of halftime, Hillcrest picked up the pace. at the 68th minute Engebretsen added another goal to her tally, thanks to a direct feed from Sunniva Haga. Four minutes later Anna Hauge won the ball from a defender and darted past the back line from Crookston, placing the ball in the back of the net as she was greeted by Comet Jerseys that were starting to look more grey than white in color.
At the 78th minute Austevoll took a pass from midfield by Maria Jennings, slipping past the defenders to score Hillcrest's fifth goal. She followed suit on a similar play one minute later, earning her hat-trick off the foot of Eva Kvamsdal. Austevoll ended her stat line for the day with three goals.
Their 6-0 shutout was a strong display of confidence, as the Lady Comets are eyeing their first round opponents in playoffs. They play Detroit Lakes Tuesday, looking for a chance to go over .500 for the first time since August, but the Lakers took Hillcrest down with a 5-1 score earlier this year.
Hillcrest will finish the season facing East Grand Forks in a homecoming match that is likely going to set the stage for how Hillcrest will fare in playoffs. Should the Comets take the game, they will enter playoffs with a .500 record and could make it into the second or third round, likely facing some competition they know well and have had success with already.
Hillcrest's homecoming game is Saturday, October 7 at 2pm on Danielsen Field at Hillcrest Academy.