NEVADA – The Nevada girls’ soccer team was a woman down when it took on Bondurant-Farrar in a battle of ranked Class 1A teams Monday at the SCORE Athletic Complex.
The Cubs, undefeated and ranked No. 3, were without talented forward Elli Cassabaum – who recently suffered an ACL injury and is out for the season. But it mattered little on Monday as the phenomenal 2014 ride continued for Nevada with a 4-0 victory over a Bluejay squad ranked No. 12.
With Cassabaum out of action, all of the other Cub players have taken on more responsibility to help the team keep rolling.
"Elli has a big role on the team and it sucks that we lost her," Nevada forward Jessica Helton said. "We’re all stepping up and doing what we can do for her."
No one upped her game more than Helton against Bondurant-Farrar.
Helton burned the Bluejays for three goals. She scored both Cub goals in the first half and added another early in the second to slam the door on Bondurant-Farrar.
Helton’s first goal came off an Emma Lodestein corner kick as she was able to slip the ball past Bluejay keeper Felicia Hanson. Helton’s second goal came just before the end of the first half, when she took a great ball from Abby Stephenson and found the back of the net.
The nail in the coffin came 13 minutes into the second half when Helton followed up her own shot and punched another one into the goal to give her team a commanding three-goal cushion.
"I wasn’t expecting this," Helton said. "My teammates found me and got me the ball. It’s them that helped me score those goals."
Michaela Matuska capped off the scoring for Nevada when she took a nice ball from Kati Cassabaum and drilled a shot into the net with 4:33 remaining.
Nevada had several other good chances to score, especially over the final 40 minutes. The Cubs dominated the second half as Kati Cassabaum and Erin Sellberg joined Helton and Matuska in getting off several good looks that were either just off the mark or barely knocked away by Hanson.
The Cub defense, meanwhile, continued its brilliant play by pitching its 11th shutout to help the team improve its record to 13-0.
"Our defense is just really strong," Nevada keeper Clara Sporrer said. "They are going to stop the balls and hopefully any that get by them I’m going to stop."
Sporrer is an all-state keeper. She supported by one of the best fullback tandems in the state in Raegan Saunders and Lexi Kruschwitz, along with talented freshman charger Kaylee Kruschwitz.
The back four was completed when junior Mara Rhodes – a forward her first two years – moved to the sweeper spot vacated by all-state performer Danielle Thomsen.
"Last year we finished strong and this year I think we’re coming back even stronger," Sporrer said. "Switching from a forward to defense is a really big change and Mara has really pulled through for us. Everyone has stepped up."
Bondurant-Farrar ended up with just one shot on goal against Nevada’s elite defense.
Abbie Tidman had the one good look for the Bluejays (8-7) as she sent a shot just over Sporrer and the top bar one minute into the second half. Hanson ended up with nine saves in a losing effort.
Nevada 4, Bondurant-Farrar 0
B-F 0 0 – 0
N 2 2 – 4
N – Jessica Helton (Emma Lodestein), 27:51
N – Helton (Abby Stephenson), 39:23
N – Helton, 53:03
N – Michaela Matuska (Kati Cassabaum), 75:27