Young Pine team struggles in district opener

Published 12:03 am Friday, January 12, 2018

SLIDELL — Pine’s Lady Raiders suffered a 9-1 loss to Pope John Paul II in the District 5-IV opener for both teams Tuesday night at PJP.
The Lady Raiders, who have a young team, got off to a tough start, as Pope John Paul II tallied the game’s first seven goals in the opening 21 minutes.
“We have a very, very young team — a lot of players that have never actually played soccer before, so we’ve had some very committed people that have been learning the game over the past three or four months just through practice and coming out and playing very, very hard,” Pine coach Matt Butcher said. “We’ve got a lot of new girls. We have a young, young team, but they’re learning quickly. They’re learning and learning positions and learning how to play the game and everything that it takes is difficult, but they’re trying really hard.”
Butcher said the Lady Raiders have three seniors and three juniors in the starting lineup, and everybody else is a seventh grader through sophomore.
Butcher talked about the improvements he has seen this season.
“Greater teamwork, communication, learning how to play the fundamentals of the game and how to apply them in the real actual game situation and just continuing to build. Just continuing to build every game and every practice,” Butcher said.
Pope John Paul II’s first goal was in the fifth minute when Aubrey Riggio took a pass from Ashley Mahoney for the opening tally to make it a 1-0 game.
A minute later, Aubrie Spring hit the back of the net after a pass from Kylie Milligan.
Milligan posted the third goal when her shot deflected off of the goalkeeper and she put the rebound in the net to make it 3-0 in the 10th minute.
Caroline Cross made it 4-0 after a pass from Riggio in the 14th.
Chase Clavier got to a loose ball and scored the fifth goal two minutes later.
Emberlynn Spring made it a 6-0 game in the 19th minute.
The seven-goal run to begin the game was capped off by Kylie Nielsen.
Nielsen is a Bogalusa resident.
Pope John Paul II coach Meaux Homburg had plenty of good things to say about Nielsen, who is a freshman.
“Nielsen’s a young player, but she definitely has the heart of a champion,” Homburg said. “She’s one of those kids that’s a pleasure to coach. She’s always asking, ‘Coach, what can I do to get better,’ and you don’t see that a lot these days where kids are asking what they can do on their own in their off time. It’s always team before her and she’s just a pleasure to coach.”
Pine got on the board in the 34th minute from a corner kick.
Alaska Sullivan took the attempt and Abbi Fornea got to the ball and tallied the goal to make it a 7-1 contest.
It stayed that way through halftime.
Pope John Paul II tallied twice in the second half and won by the eight-goal mercy rule.
Ryley Huth tallied in the 48th minute on a penalty kick.
Kate Prude posted the final goal on an assist from Lauren Jones in the 54th minute in the 9-1 contest.

Pope John Paul II’s Kylie Nielsen (left), Emberlynn Spring (right) and Lady Jaguars’ coach Meaux Homburg talk on the sideline at Tuesday’s game at PJP. Nielsen, who is a Bogalusa resident, scored a goal in the contest.