CLINTON — Following a tough three-game road trip to start the season, the River Queens were ready to play on their home turf.
Although the weather didn’t cooperate, Clinton did, as Megan Gandrup scored three goals in the River Queens’ 8-1 victory over local nonconference foe Northeast.
CHS coach Nick Hauenstein said the team was looking forward to redeeming a 6-0 loss to Davenport Central in the Mississippi Athletic Conference opener Tuesday.
“Coaches were really challenging the girls to respond to the adversity we were hit with in the Central game,” he said, “I thought this was a perfect way for the girls to get back in their groove, with it being the first home game, and I thought we responded really well.”
Clinton (2-2) wasted little time applying pressure, as the team fired a shot off the post within the first 11 seconds of the contest and misfired on another before Gandrup knocked in a goal to take an early 1-0 lead in the 38th minute.
Northeast (1-1) found an equalizer later in the first half, as Jade Lanxon curled in a 20-yard free kick after a handball violation. The shot was lofted over the “wall” created by four River Queens defenders and found nylon in the upper left section of the goal.
Clinton’s Haley Dash netted a goal in the 13th minute of the first half to give the River Queens a 2-1 lead at the intermission
The teams, whose respective high schools are separated by just 15 miles, created a competitive spirit, as several scrums for positioning resulted in players from both sides taking tumbles to the turf.
Both sides had to withstand painful playing conditions, as sharp winds pierced through the pitch to create a nearly unbearable environment, as the wind chill hovered around 32 frigid degrees. The majority of Northeast players donned warmup sweatpants for the match while players on both sides sported hats and ear warmers.
Hauenstein said the team has tried to block outside factors from its focus so far through the young season, and braving the balmy elements was another test.
“We have to control what we can control,” he said, “with the weather being less than ideal right now, we knew that it was going to be a challenge for both teams.”
While Clinton led by a goal at halftime, the advantage could have been steeper if not for a handful of quality setups that fizzled at the last moment due to errant shots or botched passes.
But the River Queens found a rhythm in the second half, pouring in six goals to run away with their second victory of the season.
Peyton Metzger, Allison Mitchell, Sofia Tello and Ali House each beat the Northeast keeper and Gandrup completed the hat trick in a 40-minute span that featured more goals (6) than the team had scored in its first three games of the season (3).
“I was pleased with all the spots the girls were getting in during the first half and the girls were moving the ball really well,” Hauenstein said. “We just didn’t have that final finish but as the second half rolled on, we challenged the girls to get the ball in the back of the net.
“Once we got our first goal of the second half, it opened everything else up.”
Emily Manemann, Greta Greenley and Gandrup each recorded an assist.
Clinton will host North Scott on Tuesday while Northeast will have the week off before heading to Marquette Catholic on April 23.