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NFMHS Girls soccer team sees first loss

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Dec 28, 2020

North Fort Myers senior Kinsey Dold (13) brings the ball into the offensive zone during the Red Knights’ match against Mariner last Tuesday night. PHOTO BY MICHAEL PISTELLA MPISTELLA@BREEZENEWSPAPERS.COM

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The North Fort Myers High School girls soccer team has played like its typical self through the first half of the season — like world beaters.

However, no season happens without a bump in the road or two, which is just what the Red Knights faced when it battled arch-rival Mariner last Tuesday at Moody Field.

There, the Tritons took advantage of a cheap goal three minutes in and an insurance goal early in the second half to cruise to a 2-0 victory, handing North its first loss of the season.

Head coach Nick Erickson said his team played well, but couldn’t stop Mariner from notching its first win against North in nearly three years.

“I think we would want to take that first goal back. It seems like after that, they got a little of the momentum. They had a few corners in the first few minutes of the game, but we had some dangerous runs after that and were on the doorstep, but we missed the ball,” Erickson said.

Mariner got on the board first when a shot by freshman Arianna McIntyre bounced through the arms of goalkeeper Olivia Jernstedt and into the net for a 1-0 lead.

North (6-1-2) had several opportunities to tie the game, but Mariner’s sophomore goalkeeper Sierra Ingram was in top form, cutting off a breakaway opportunity by Michelle Horan early on and making a key save on an Anna Carter header later in the half to maintain the lead.

Early in the second half, Mariner (6-1) pretty much put the game away as freshman Ryleigh Acosta, who played a tremendous game, fed a perfect centering pass to Gloria Quintanilla in front of the goal, who tapped it in to make it 2-0.

Mariner didn’t allow very many opportunities from then on as it outshot North 15-10 and had a 7-3 edge in corner kicks.

“In a game like this, you’re going to have maybe eight chances and you have to put them away,” Erickson said. “They got that goal and an effort goal later, so give them credit. You have two even teams and the ball went their way.”

Despite the loss, North has played very well in the first half of the season, allowing just three goals before its loss to Mariner, with a scoreless tie to Barron Collier and a 1-1 draw to Riverdale being the only blemishes.

Horan, a junior, has been the center of the offense, with 10 goals and 11 assists. Freshman Sophia Kerns is tied for the team lead in goals, with fellow frosh Evie McCarthy close behind with eight goals and nine assists.

Erickson said he believes he has a team that can make another deep run in the state playoffs in February.

“We’re a very young team. We’re starting eight underclassmen. Mariner is also very young, so this is going to be quite a battle for years to come. We both have a lot of young talent,” Erickson said.