BAXTER — With her head shaking, Jenny Hendrickson stood mortified in front of the goal.
The Brainerd Warriors’ midfielder dribbled past the St. Cloud Tech Tigers’ defense setting up, what looked at the time, to be the best scoring chance of Tuesday’s Central Lakes Conference contest.
All she had to do was beat the keeper and Brainerd would take a 1-0 lead at the 17:10 mark of the first half. Instead, Hendrickson’s attempt nailed the post sending the distinct ping sound across Southdale Fields before sailing out of bounds.
Hendrickson was baffled, but not defeated. The midfielder made up for her earlier misfortune by scoring two goals and helping the Warriors to a 4-0 victory.
“I was going down the field and I guess Ally (Smith) was right there, but I didn’t hear her so I just went for the shot in the left corner,” said Hendrickson about her miss. “I just hit the pole. It was kind of disappointing.”
Hendrickson’s first goal came on a corner kick set up by senior Emily Beltran. Beltran, who scored one goal herself and assisted on Brainerd’s other three goals, sent the ball toward the Tech net. Hendrickson again snuck past the Tech defense and deflected the kick into the net at 44:16 of the second half.
“The first goal was our first goal on a corner kick, I believe, so I was pretty happy about that,” said Hendrickson. “We have a lot of corner kicks and Emily is really good about putting it in there so hopefully we can keep getting crosses in like that.”
After Beltran’s goal made it 3-0, Hendrickson carved up the Tech defense again to score the game’s final goal.
Brainerd’s Madelaine Ellingson notched the game’s first goal at 35:30 of the first period helping ease some frustration. Brainerd produced six quality scoring opportunities in the first half, including Hendrickson’s, but came away with just the one goal.
“We always talk about not coming from the flank because we have what we call the zero percent return rate,” said Warriors head coach Ricky Lacerte. “We never finish crosses and the fact that we were able to score on a cross and a corner kick today was phenomenal. It is not our strong suit, but the fact that it happened is great for us. It opens up new opportunities for us.”
Tuesday’s four scores pushed Brainerd’s season total to 25 goals compared to the five the Warriors’ defense has allowed. It was the fifth clean sheet produced by Brainerd keeper Heather Campbell, who only had to stop two shots.
“Our defense works like a well-oiled machine,” said Lacerte. “They are methodical. That’s what makes a good defense. When you get lazy and start to play undisciplined that’s when you start to give up goals. We trained very hard and we have a great captain in Angela Sausen, who manages the defense and plus, they are a veteran, senior-led line. All I can say is they are methodical.”
As was Brainerd’s offense, which peppered Tech’s keeper MiLee Peavey with 14 shots helping the Warriors to their fourth straight win and improving the team’s record to 6-0-3 overall.
St. Cloud Tech 0 0 — 0
Brainerd 1 3 — 4
First half: Brd-Madelaine Ellingson (Emily Beltran) 35:30
Second half: Brd-Jenny Hendrickson (Beltran) CK 44:16; Brd-Beltran (Ally Smith) 45.36; Brd-Hendrickson (Beltran) 57k:50
Shots on goal: Brd 6 8 — 14, Tech 2 0 — 2
Goalkeepers: Brd-Heather Campbell (2 saves); Tech-MiLee Peavey (10 saves)