BAXTER - After the leading scorer in program history graduated the Brainerd Warriors have been searching for offensive firepower this fall.
Three games into the season Brainerd was still searching as it was shut out by Stillwater, Wayzata and Buffalo by a combined 12-0 in non-conference games.
Last week, Brainerd began to find the range in a 3-0 win over Alexandria. Tuesday, the Warriors put the pedal to the medal for a 10-1 victory over the Sauk Rapids-Rice Storm in Central Lakes Conference play.
"They started cleaning it up last week with Alexandria, playing the passing game they're used to playing," Warriors coach Sara Rojas said. "Actually, it started with Buffalo, we just couldn't connect there. We've worked on connecting with the net. We did that at Alex and today we did it really well."
Tuesday, five Warriors scored goals and five had assists. Senior Madison Smith and junior Stacy Tetreault each had hat tricks while Becca Gervais punched in two goals and Tori Saxum and Alese Waters each had one.
"When we came out against hard teams it was hard," Smith said. "We weren't really used to playing with each other. We all played on different teams this summer. It's nice to get back together. We've been working hard together."
Smith, Tetreault and Kellie Barnaby each had two assists and Gervais and Brianna Olson collected one apiece.
Defensively, the Warriors allowed only four shots on keeper Cami Andersen while bruising Storm keeper for 42. Rojas said Brainerd has changed its defense since the first few games.
"We changed it up to a 4-back D, that's been working well," she said. "I'm glad we changed that.
"The girls are working well together. They stopped anything coming to them. We played a little more defensively, as far as jockeying, and letting the other team make the mistake, getting ball possession and (kicking) it upfield."
The score could have been worse. Brainerd hit the crossbar at least twice and whacked several over the cage as it improved to 2-0 in the CLC, 2-3 overall.
Kelly Rosenthal, now at Illinois State, scored 92 goals and had 127 total points in her Warriors career. Her graduation means Smith and others will be called on to provide offense.
"We're trying to work it around," Smith said. "It is nice to get some goals in, but it's a team effort, there's no one person."
Warriors 10, Storm 1
The key: Brainerd booted 42 shots on goal.
Conference: Brd 2-0, SR 0-2
Overall: Brd 2-3, SR 0-3
Next: Brainerd at St. Cloud Apollo 7 p.m. Thursday.
Sauk Rapids 1 0 - 1
Brainerd 5 5 - 10
First half: Brd-Madison Smith (Brianna Olson) 5:36; Brd-Stacy Tetreault (M.Smith) 18:11; Brd-Tori Saxum; SR-Carley Johnson (Elizabeth Arnold) 32:46; Brd-Becca Gervais (M.Smith) 35:31; Brd-M.Smith (Kellie Barnaby) 36:45
Second half: Brd-Alese Waters (Tetreault) 42:58; Brd-Gervais (Tetreault) 44:53; Brd-Tetreault (Barnaby) 58:59; Brd-Tetreault (Gervais) 63:21; Brd-M.Smith, 64:22
Shots on goal: SR 4, Brd 42
Goalkeepers: SR-Morgan Euteneuer (32 saves), Brd-Cami Andersen (3 saves)
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.