EGELSTON TOWNSHIP – Going winless is never the way a team envisions a season, but you have to take some comfort where you can.
For the Muskegon Risers women’s outdoor soccer squad, that came in the fact that they improved over the course of their 0-8 season and scored a season-high five goals on Friday night.
Unfortunately they still came up short, falling 11-5 to the Michigan Jaguars in their season finale at Oakridge High School.
“Although we didn’t get the result tonight, the women played one of our best games of the season,” said Mike Boogaart, who served as the Risers’ coach on Friday. “The women have had so much growth over the season, and I couldn’t be prouder to see their teamwork paying off.”
The Risers’ biggest problem in the game was Jaguar star Amalia Villareal, who scored four goals.
Muskegon’s biggest bright spot was former North Muskegon High School standout Sophia Mueller, who had the team’s first and only three-goal hat trick of the season.
The Jaguars opened the scoring 9:36 into the contest on a goal by Kayla Rollins, then added another by Noel Blain at 12:22 to make it a 2-0 game.
Mueller scored her first goal at the 14:09 mark, then Alexis Ponsten found the net about two minutes later, tying the contest at 2-2.
The Jaguars collected three unanswered goals – one from Madison Salzenstein and two from Victoria Miller – to grab a 5-2 lead. Mueller added another goal for Muskegon, then Villarreal found the net to make the score 6-3 at halftime.
Villarreal scored again early in the second half, giving her team a four-goal lead. Mueller completed her hat trick to make the score 7-4 about midway through the second half.
Salzenstein and Villarreal connected again for the visitors, making the score 9-4. Ponstein scored again for Muskegon, then Villarreal and Blain added two more goals to wrap up the scoring.
“The girls played hard and I’m proud of them,” Boogaart said. “This game opened our eyes and showed us what the best teams look like, and what we are striving to be.”