Crookston scored in the fifth minute, but allowed a penalty kick and the go-ahead goal in the 70th minute.

    Mackenze Epema (So. F) notched her fourth goal of the season, but the Pirates fell 2-1 to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley after a penalty kick and a late goal.

    Epema, who leads the team in goals, kicked off the action in this one scoring her goal in the fifth minute to give Crookston (1-13-1) a 1-0 lead.

    “Kenze got a nice pass, kind of a cross ball, and she snuck it in low and to the corner of the net,” Head Coach Sarah Reese said. “Those are the goals that we talked about would go in on this team because they cluster their defense in the center. So if you can rush the ball to one side and make a cross, that’s where the opening is and that’s exactly what she did.”

    Crookston’s defense kept WHA from putting much together and only allowed five shots on goal the entire match with Reese Swanson (7th Grade GK) saving three.

    The Pirates nearly escaped the first half with a lead when Walker benefited from a call in the box. The clock showed 90 seconds to play in the first half and WHA drew a penalty awarding them a penalty kick. Walker brought their goalkeeper from the other side of the field to take the shot and the goalie sent the equalizer to the left side for a 1-1 tie.

    “We had several things really good that happened,” Reese said. “And then the PK happened and it was like we played pretty passive. We mentally got ourselves in a place we weren’t able to get out of. We played on our heels instead of on our toes. All of the things we’ve been practicing went out the door.”

    Both teams came out of the intermission with a strong defense and neither side’s offense could create scoring chances.

    Finally, with 10 minutes to play, WHA took a 2-1 lead and held off the Pirates the rest of the way to earn their first victory of the year.

    “It was a disappointing loss because we certainly had the potential to win,” Reese said. “It’s frustrating because you see all of the different individual players and they are able to put that together as a unit.”

    Crookston plays their regular season finale on Monday, October 8 against Fergus Falls at 3:30 p.m.

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