Columbus East played a strong first half, had a slight letup in the second half, but then finished strong Wednesday night to finish off a season-opening 3-1 win against Bloomington South.
“I thought we played brilliant soccer for the majority of the game, and then there were some things we didn’t do so well,” East coach Ilya Schwartzman said. “We gave up a lot of position attack, but overall, I thought we played very well.”
The Olympians got on the board in the 31st minute when Nadia Harris chipped a ball that Cougars goalkeeper Rachel Campbell got a hand on, but couldn’t stop.
East added to its lead just before halftime when Ruth Federle scored off a cross from Sydney Berkemeier in the 39th minute. The Olympians led 2-0 at halftime.
“It’s exciting,” Federle said. “We were hoping for a win to start off our season right. I think everyone was nervous before the game. Everyone was like, ‘Oh my gosh. My stomach hurts,’ and everyone was stressed out. But once we settled in, it was awesome.”
Bloomington North (1-1) struck in the 58th minute on a goal by Talya Chaveas. But East and Federle put the game away in the 73rd minute when Federle stuck in a shot from Norah Dwenger that rebounded off Campbell.
“It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever had,” Federle said. “I had this tunnel vision with the second ball that it was the only thing I could think about — just keep putting it in the goal.”
The Olympians outshot the Cougars 26-10, putting 13 shots on goal to four for Bloomington North. Anna Liimatta recorded three saves for East.
“Bloomington North stepped up and played better in the second half,” Schwartzman said. “I think they’re a much better team than in the past, and their goalie was phenomenal. She had at least three or four phenomenal saves that easily could have been our goals.
“From our standpoint, we had a lot of great combination play,” he added. “We had great crosses. I thought we attacked the crosses very well. I thought the midfielders, forwards, everybody contributed tonight.”