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WILLISTON –On senior night for Williston High girls soccer, all the 12th graders played well against visiting Bronson.
But it was freshman Kayla Carnegie who stole the show with her feather-in-the-hat trick - four goals - in the Lady Devils? 4-0 shutout of the Eagles.
"Kayla had a great game," said Williston head coach Max Aguirre. "She was in the right place in the right time tonight."
Williston honored its five seniors, Michelle Williams, Abby Rodriguez, Suzie Smith, Sarah Markham and Laura Steinkamp, in a ceremony before the game. Before the cheers had died away, the ebullient Devils began to tear up the field.
Like Williston this year, the Eagles had a couple of very experienced players on the field, along with a pile of energetic beginners. Unlike Williston, Bronson is in their first year of play, and is still working to get their chemistry together.
The Devils exploited Bronson's early unease with an immediate attack on the Eagle goal. Four minutes in, Bronson took a goal kick, but couldn't clear the ball far enough downfield and Cecilia Morales brought it back and crossed to Carnegie. Carnegie penetrated behind the line and hammered in a goal, 1-0 Williston.
Energized by the score, the Devils maintained the ball in the Bronson half and stayed on the attack. Eagles' goalkeeper Kimberly Buan had two saves in a row as Williston battered the box, but was caught on the next try when Rodriguez' shot ricocheted from the crossbar and was sent home by Carnegie's left foot.
Bronson, two down, turned their urgency on the attack. Eryn Lake took a shot on Williston's goal, but keeper Sarah Jones scooped it up. The Devils resumed the offensive. Two minutes later, Rodriguez sent a long pass up toward the penalty box and Carnegie barely caught up to it, tapping the ball off the tip of her toe into the goal.
Williston had scored three goals within 15 minutes by carrying their exuberant mood onto the field. Now far down, Bronson began to play more effective defense and moved the ball around. Buan had four more saves before the Eagles pushed the ball down to the other end. First Samantha Blake and then Lesly Urbina smashed shots toward Roxanne Krause, who had a pair of saves before the half ended.
Bronson came out attacking after the half, and Blake took another shot, which Chelsie Wright cleared from the box. When the Devils resumed the attack, Bronson switched to a trapping defense and caught Stephanie Bradley offside twice in the span of five minutes.
Although Bronson has a new team, many Eagle and Red Devil players share a long acquaintance on the youth soccer fields of the area. Late in the second half, the contest took on a personal flavor as old grievances were aired, whistles were blown and direct kicks awarded. Bronson's defensive leader Angela Massa and Williston striker Lucia Bernal both received cautions, but returned to the field after a moment. With five minutes remaining, Katelyn Wilson passed the ball up to Carnegie, who blasted it high into the left corner of the goal.
Eagles' head coach Doug Robeson, fresh from a Gatorade bath from his young squad, was pleased with the energy his team brought to this game.
"I'm very proud of them," he said. "The way they played in the second half is the best we've played all year."
Robeson had special praise for keeper Buan, who was playing with two separated shoulders. "She separated one before the (holiday) break, so she had a couple weeks to try to heal it, but then she separated the other one last week."