For the Mandan Braves, the season opener was worth the wait.
Five different players notched goals and Olivia Geiger posted a shutout as Mandan won the first varsity soccer game at Starion Sports Complex, defeating Legacy 5-0 in the season and West Region opener, played on a cool but sunny Tuesday evening. On this day, the only snow in sight was along the corner of the Leon House track.
“I thought the girls did a brilliant job,” Mandan coach Stephen Weston said. “They did exactly what we were looking for, exactly everything I asked of them. Couldn’t have asked for anything more so as a team, perfect. Got off to a great start.”
Mandan scored twice in the first half to take the lead and added three more goals after the break to open the season on a high note.
“It really was a complete performance,” Weston said. “The defense, goalkeeper – brilliant performance. Midfield did a really good job of transitioning between the two. Obviously, we scored five goals, so I can’t ask for anything more.”
Mandan struck first near the midway mark of the first half.
Alonna Allickson broke free and scored on a breakaway off an assist from Elizabeth Geiger with 23:44 left in the first half, and the Braves were off to a 1-0 lead.
Allickson had a couple of other golden opportunities later on as well, utilizing her speed to create space and scoring chances.
“She’s definitely a quick player. She had more chances, maybe she could have got herself a couple more goals,” Weston said.
Just about two minutes later, Allickson found herself breaking in one-on-one, but Legacy goalkeeper Brooke Bineger broke up the scoring opportunity, and the Sabers cleared out the ensuing Braves corner kick chance.
Elizabeth Geiger added to the Braves lead late in the first half, burying a penalty kick in the back of the net with 4:15 remaining to give Mandan a 2-0 lead at the intermission.
Olivia Geiger finished with nine saves in net for the Braves, posting the shutout.
The Braves’ defenders bottled up the Sabers all day.
“We were really tight to our mark,” Weston said. “We did a good job of staying tight, compacting the space to the other team. They weren’t able to create a whole lot of chances.”
Kylie Osborn scored unassisted with 28:41 to go in the second half, making it a 3-0 lead for the Braves.
Allickson had another breakaway opportunity with just over 16 minutes to go, but her shot sailed high over the crossbar and hit the football goalposts.
Ashlee Newman scored unassisted with 7:54 remaining to make it 4-0 Braves.
Less than two minutes later, Sarah Burgum wrapped up the scoring, converting off an assist from Elizabeth Goodheart for a 5-0 Braves victory.
Brooke Binegar finished with 12 saves for the Sabers (0-1), who host Bismarck on Thursday, weather permitting.