Jacksonville Daily Progress
Jacksonville head girl's soccer coach Kiff Wiemers found what he was looking for Friday morning.
Jacksonville opened play in the Hallsville Tournament by blanking Marshall 3-0 at Bobcat Stadium as the Maidens improved to 2-5-1 with the victory.
After a scoreless opening half, Rachel Stirneman collected all three of Jacksonville's goals in the final period to give the Maidens the convincing win.
“What we have been lacking is for someone to step up on offense and make something happen,” Wiemers. “I challenged the team at halftime to go out and assert themselves and play like they wanted to win the match.
“I think Rachel (Stirneman) stepped up and answered the bell and that's what we've been looking for all season.”
Stirneman's first score came with 20:31 left in the match.
That's when she punched the ball into the net from about seven yards out on the left side.
Stirneman's left-footed boot ricocheted off the far post and dropped to the turf for Jacksonville's first point.
With 15:08 to go in the match, Stirneman powered the ball in from 23 yards out on a free kick after a Lady Maverick had been whistled for a foul.
Jacksonville's final point came with 1:18 left to play and occurred when a Marshall player had an own goal.
Stirneman was the last Maiden to touch the ball before the own goal, so by rule she was credited with the goal.
“This was my first hat trick as a varsity player,” Stirneman said following the match. “It's a nice thing and it feels good for our team to get a shutout win.”
Stirneman said her first goal, a cross-body shot, was the one that was the most difficult to achieve.
“The first goal was the hardest one to get because it was with my left foot and from the left side of the field.”
Jacksonville had seven shots on goal to Marshall's three.
Maiden goal keeper Callie Reagan got the clean-sheet win and made three saves in the match.
Each team had one corner kick, while Jacksonville was charged with 10 penalties to Marshall's three.
Jacksonville freshman-forward Lindsey Green drew much of the Marshall defensive attention in the first half and in the early stages of the final segment, which seemed to open the door for Stirneman from the top.
“I think they (Marshall) were so concerned about stopping Lindsey that they didn't give enough attention to Rachel (Stirneman),” Wiemers said. “Once Rachel got going she proved to be hard to stop.”
Jacksonville was scheduled to have played host Hallsville on Friday night (results not available at press time) and Greenville at 9 a.m. this morning.
The Maidens host No. 7-ranked Texarkana-Texas High at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Tomato Bowl.