BAXTER -- Whether it's soccer or football, a team wants the wind at its back whenever possible.
Kicking a ball into the wind can be like slamming it into a trampoline -- the ball comes ricocheting back at you. Kicking with the wind can have the same effect as a jet cruising with a tail wind.
The Brainerd Warriors girls' soccer team elected to take the wind in the first half of Thursday's Central Lakes Conference game against the Little Falls Flyers. That decision led to a a 5-0 triumph at the Southdale Field.
Dana Kohan, Jessie Rosenthal, Breanna Olson and Joyce Hendricks rippled the net within the opening 28 minutes, helping Brainerd to its second conference win in as many games.
A Little Falls Flyer (right) crashed into Beth Cairns of the Brainerd Warriors as she attempted to kick the ball away in their game at Southdale Field.
Maggie Sweeney rounded out the Warriors' scoring at the 59-minute mark.
"The wind was certainly a factor," Warriors coach George Kohan said. "Our strategy was to get the wind in the first half. We wanted to get on the board with a lot of goals because it's hard to play when you get (a team) down.
"(Goalie) Kate Bjornson wanted the wind at her face in the second half. We won the toss and gave her what she wanted."
Bjornson gave Brainerd what it wanted -- solid net play. She had to stop just six shots, just a few of which were from close range, as Warrior defenders kept Little Falls strikers away from her.
"(Little Falls) forwards are really quick," Bjornson said, "but our defenders held them up really well."
Bjornson has flourished in the Warriors' first three games. She stopped 27 shots in a 3-2 loss to Bemidji and 9 of 10 shots in a 5-1 win over Willmar.
"Kate came to the summer league determined to become the next level of goalie, which she certainly has done," Kohan said. "Every game she gets more solid.
"She took an enormous shot (in the leg) in the second half. I knew she was OK, but I also knew she took a hard shot. She's the kind of kid that needs to come back from those, and she did. It hurt. It's a maturing effect. She will be sore tonight."
Kohan commended the play in front of Bjornson, particularly juniors Marie Lange, Beth Cairns and Dana Kohan and freshman Taylor Hartje, who filled in for the injured Lauren Seipp.
"It was the first time we asked Taylor to play there," George Kohan said. "Actually, we were grooming her to be trained by Marie Lange in the middle because our right fullback is hurt, not bad but she can't play the next couple games. Frankly, Taylor stepped it up and had a nice game."
The loss was the fourth in as many games for Little Falls, a second-year varsity program. Flyers coach Loren Olson is looking forward to the rematch against Brainerd Sept. 25 at Belle Prairie.
"We've played four games," Olson said. "We've lost them all but in each one we have gotten better. I'm pleased with their progress. When Brainerd comes down to see us, it's going to be a little tougher."
Little Falls 0 0 -- 0
Brainerd 4 1 -- 5
First half -- B-Dana Kohan (Beth Cairns) 5:00; B-Jessie Rosenthal 10:00; B-Breanna Olson (Cairns) 17:00; B-Joyce Hendricks 28:00
Second half -- B-Maggie Sweeney (Emilie Entrikin) 59:00
Shots on goal -- LF 2 4 -- 6; B 10 10 -- 20
Goaltenders -- LF-Teresa Cameron (6 saves first half), Julia Lyshick (9 saves second half); B-Kate Bjornson (6 saves)
Conference -- LF 0-3, B 2-0. Overall -- LF 0-4, B 2-1. Next game -- Brainerd at Fergus Falls 1 p.m. Saturday.
Flyer boys nip Brainerd
BELLE PRAIRIE -- Renzo Ferrari's goal with two minutes remaining lifted the Little Falls Flyers past the Brainerd Warriors 2-1 in a Central Lakes Conference soccer game on Thursday.
Matt Parins scored for the Flyers at the four-minute mark while Justin Cervin scored the Warriors' lone goal five minutes before the end of the half.
Brainerd 1 0--1
Little Falls 1 1--2
First half --LF Matt Parins (Paul Flahave) 4:00; Brd Justin Cervin (Rusty Caughey) 35:00
Second half --LF Renzo Ferrari (unassisted) 78:00
Shots on goal -- Brd 4 9--13, LF 8 4--12
Goaltenders --Brd Kevin Sexton 10 saves, LF Ian Bakke 3, Phil Weiss 9 saves
Conference -- B 0-2, LF 2-1. Overall -- B 0-3, LF 3-1. Next game --St. Cloud Apollo at Brainerd 5 p.m. Tuesday LF at Willmar 5 p.m. Tuesday.
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