The Dux girls varsity soccer team ended the regular season with a hard fought, well-earned 2-0 win over host Holland, to secure 2nd place in the OK Green conference. The Dux started strong, dictating the tempo and pace of the match for much of the first half. “Our offesive shape and spacing was much better tonight, which allowed us get more players involved. We had decent combinations through the midfield, and did a good job of distributing the ball, which allowed us to attack from multiple positions throughout the first 40 minutes.” Despite controlling play, the Dux were unable to find the back of the net, and entered halftime tied 0-0.
Holland played with more physicality in the 2nd half, and tried to get numbers behind the ball defensively. The Dux continued to move the ball well, and finally broke through near the 60:00 mark of the game. Good pressure by the Dux defense forced a turnover near midfield. The ball was played out wide to Phoebe LaCroix (SR), who then played an angled ball into Ashtyn Dykstra (SR) near the top of the 18-yd box. With her back to goal, Dykstra used her first touch to create separation from her defender and slotted a ball through to Samantha Hecht (SO). Hecht’s left footed blast skipped under the diving arms of the Holland keeper at the near post, and into the back of the net.
Less than 5 minutes later, LaCroix was taken down in the penalty box. Hecht put the Dux up 2-0 on the ensuing penalty kick, beating the keeper high and to the left. Holland tried to get back in the game by throwing a couple of more players forward, but the damage had already been done.
The Dux generated several more quality opportunities, but could not capitalize. Hanna Kristiansen’s (SR) clever volley off of a corner kick skittered just wide. Abriana “Pete” VanderWerf-Lara (JR) made a driving run into the box from the right side, putting a cross behind Holland’s keeper, but the Dux had nobody in the vicinity as the ball trickled harmlessly across the goal mouth. Gabby Campa (SR) made two late driving runs into the box in the waning minutes, but both attempts sailed just wide.
“Overall, we played with more energy and enthusiasm tonight. Everyone was involved, our defense was stout, our midfield was organized, and we were able to dictate and play our style of game. Ending the regular season with a quality win will give us some confidence as we head into the state tournament next week.” Ryleigh Farrell made 4 saves for the Dux in net to earn the shutout.
The Dux end the regular season with a record of 12-5-2 (8-3-1 OK Green) and will face Zeeland East on Tuesday at 3:30 in the first round of the MHSAA District Tournament.