Eighth-grader Solheim nets natural hat trick

    The Pirate girls’ soccer team traveled to Walker on Saturday and came home with their first win of the season, 6-0 over the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Wolves, behind eighth-grader Cassie Solheim’s hat trick.

    The season’s first win doubled as a major morale boost for the team, Head Coach Sarah Reese said. “Oh, definitely!” she said. “We need to keep the momentum going into high-competition games” this week.

    The girls are at home Tuesday, Sept. 10 against the Bemidji Lumberjacks and travel to East Grand Forks on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Then it’s a busy weekend with a home game Saturday, Sept. 7 against Grand Rapids before they travel on Sunday, Sept. 15 to play in the Melrose Invitational.

    In Walker on Saturday, the Pirates got on board with a successful penalty kick by junior Makenze Epema at the nine-minute mark. Solheim notched her first goal a minute later, unassisted, and she scored her second and third goals at the 17 and 27-minute marks, respectively, with assists going to senior Kylee Meier and junior Anke Wiersma. Eighth-grader Keona Arnold closed out the scoring for the Pirates, scoring the last two goals of the game in the 31st minute and at the 60-minute mark. She was assisted by Wiersma and sophomore Olivia Huck.

    After getting peppered with shots in the previous game, a 4-0 loss at home to Detroit Lakes, eighth-grade goaltender Reese Swanson had lighter duty in Walker, stopping three shots. “It was a great day for Pirate girls’ soccer,” Reese said. “Lots of players saw lots of minutes; everyone shined and played well as a team.”

    It was a big lift for the girls to see some shots go into the net, she said, adding that after Solheim secured her natural hat trick she spent the rest of the game distributing the ball to create opportunities for her teammates. “That showed true team character,” Reese noted.

    She also mentioned Epema’s penalty kick, which she said utilized “perfect textbook” form and strategy.

    Reese recognized the Pirate defenders as well, whom she said contributed greatly to the shutout. “The defense line played solid,” she said.