By Brenden West Assistant Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — In Tuesday’s matchup between Clinton and Davenport Central, youth was going to win out. The River Queens started five freshmen against a sophomore-heavy lineup for the Blue Devils.
Heading into the match, Central’s Analise Keller, Kaylee Golden, Makayla Buck and Morgan Teel (all sophomores) combined to score 33 points on the season.
They notched another eight on this night, leaving Clinton on the short end in a physical 3-0 loss that moved them to 2-5-1 on the season. Golden scored all three goals for the Devils, with assists coming from Teel, Keller and freshman Katy Axel.
But with the loss, Clinton co-coach Spencer Mesick said there were still positives from it.
“What really came out of tonight is the fact that we have a lot of young players who can step up and play,” Mesick said. “Central has four sophomores who have stepped up. They were freshmen playing last year, and look where they are now. I was happy to see that we could put our freshmen in some big positions and see them play very well.”
In summation, the young Queens have a lot to look forward to as the season continues to unfold.
With freshman Krista Atkinson in goal, Clinton gave up an early score eight minutes into the first half. Despite the blow, the Queens were able to push the ball on the offensive side to take a couple of shots. Atkinson, meanwhile, made several diving saves to keep the game within reach.
Golden’s second goal came at the 19-minute mark, a reverse bicycle kick that soared high into the corner and out of Atkinson’s reach.
Later in the half, a hand ball gave Central another look, 20 yards in front of the net. The shot went wide right and the Queens entered halftime down 2-0.
Mesick and co-coach Bill Feaster switched goalkeepers to start the second half. Junior Hannah Dehner donned the gloves and broke the 10-save mark as the Queens tightened up defensively. Dehner’s only goal allowed came early in the half, when Golden had an open look off a rebound in front of the net and boomed it right post.
The Queens looked as though they might break the shutout as the game winded down. Junior Lauren Pittman had a look on the left side just feet away but was stonewalled by Central keeper Mandy Taylor.
In all, the Queens finished with seven shots on goal.
“When you’re able to get to the ball more often and anticipate where they’re going to be, you can body them up,” Mesick said. “We got to the ball and put up a fight.”
On Friday, the Queens will play host to Northeast, also at the Ashford University Field.