Coach Reese says the score didn't have to be as lopsided as 9-0.

    The Pirate girls’ soccer team was shut out 9-0 at Fergus Falls Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Thursday, but Head Coach Sarah Reese said the final outcome didn’t necessarily need to be that lopsided.

    “The score was unfortunate and didn’t need to be that way,” she tells the Times.

    When it came to the teams’ level of skill on the field, Reese said the Pirates were competitive. “But we didn’t commit as individuals or as a team on the field to get 100% grit and effort for all 80 minutes,” she added. “We need to win balls in the air and control time and space.”

    Hillcrest put three shots past Pirate eighth-grade net-minder Reese Swanson in the first half, and doubled their scoring output in the second half. Swanson made 11 saves on the day, while her counterpart in the Hillcrest goal, Juliana Undseth, faced just one Crookston shot on goal.    Hillcrest moved to 5-4 with the win, while the Pirates fell to 1-11. Crookston will be back in action on Tuesday when they host Pelican Rapids at 4 p.m.

    Reese did take some positives from the Hillcrest loss. Junior Joslynn Leach played her best game of the season, the coach noted. “If she lost a ball, she recovered, she switched fields with the ball, as we have been practicing,” Reese said.

    And fellow junior Makenze Epema continues to be the Pirate who appears most capable of consistently controlling the ball for an extended stretch and generating offensive changes, Reese added.

    “She is a dynamic player and keeps the ball at her feet,” she said. “Tonight she had a textbook passing combo; she started sideline to corner with a ball perfectly placed back to the center.”

    The Pirates junior varsity squad played Hillcrest to a scoreless tie.