Girls soccer: Freshman Ella Mueller scores equalizer as Winhawks draw Albert Lea
Rachel Stein has been looking for someone to score goals for her team besides junior Jill Serleth. The second-year Winona Senior High girls soccer coach acknowledged that they can’t rely on Serleth — who had scored four of the last five Winhawks goals — to be their only goal scorer.
On Tuesday night against Albert Lea, the Winhawks received a boost from somebody else and it came from an unlikely source.
Freshman Ella Mueller — who normally plays defensive midfield — delivered the equalizer early in the second half to help the tired Winhawks draw a 1-1 tie with Albert Lea Tuesday night at Paul Giel Field.
Mueller took a beautiful through pass from Grace Crigler before finishing with her left foot past the Tigers’ keeper in the 46th minute.
“Usually she is on the defensive mid,” Stein said. “Today we had to pull her up to striker. One thing about these ladies it doesn’t matter where I put them they’ll hold that position — Ella was totally stoked about getting the chance to play a forward position and she took advantage of it.”
It came on a night where the Winhawks were noticeably fatigued. Coming off a 1-1 overtime tie against Caledonia the night before Winona got off to a slow start struggling to find themselves. Albert Lea capitalized early.
Tigers’ midfielder Jacy Rosas found some open space at the top of the box before launching a shot that bounced right in front and off the hands of Winona freshman goalie Mikayla Corcoran before trickling into the goal.
It was 1-0 just 15 minutes into the game.
But the Winhawks came out of the half re-energized and ready to get themselves back into it.
“We had an overtime last night so we were running on fumes a little bit,” Stein said. “The ladies put out the best that they could tonight.”
However, after the Mueller goal the Tigers took control once again and had more scoring threats. They outshot Winona 7-1 and 5-2 with shots on goal. But they couldn’t find the back of the net.
Winona did have a couple of chances late with some corners, as well as a chance when eighth grader Gwenyth Buswell found space inside the box, but her shot was right at the keeper.
Corcoran was able to bounce back in a big way first on a free kick late in the second half when it looked like the ball was going to go over her head, but she was able to jump and get her hands on it to knock it against the crossbar before it was cleared by her defense.
Her biggest play came late in the second overtime period when Lucy Sherman broke away from the Winona defense and had a one-on-one with Corcoran, who stood tall to make the save.
She would finish with nine saves.
“Mikayla has been stepping into a big role as a freshman,” Stein said. “She takes advantage of every opportunity. Tonight she was put into some big situations and she was ready to take every shot that went her way. We were really proud of her tonight.”
The Winhawks are still trying to figure some spots out, but feel like they are moving in the right direction. They are now 1-2-0 in their last three games.
“We are still figuring out some positioning and so we have a lot of movement on the field,” Stein said. “So depending on the night, it just really depends on the game. I think we are slowly starting to fall into our places. We have had a lot of changes this season, so as the season goes we will figure that out.”