Polk County’s 2023 girls soccer squad blends a mix of program veterans with newcomers who are injecting enthusiasm and talent into the team.
Monday’s home opener offered an example of the potential of that mixture.
Senior Ella Waldman scored a pair of goals and two freshmen also scored as the Wolverines blanked Avery, 4-0, in a non-conference matchup in G.M. Tennant Stadium.
The win gave Polk (2-0) its second shutout of the young season, and its defense largely denied Avery (0-3) any serious offensive threat. The Vikings were largely limited to shots on target that were easily saved by Wolverine goalkeeper Maggie McCammon.
Polk’s offense steadily produced scoring opportunities throughout the evening, and those chances began to pay off in the second half as the Wolverines found breathing room after a 1-0 halftime lead. Waldman, who poked in a loose corner kick in front of the net during a first-half scramble for her first goal, delivered her second on a set play off another corner, racing to the back post to direct home a drive from Jamilett Ramirez. That goal in the 46th minute put the Wolverines up 2-0.
Then the kids took over. Taking a pass from Susanna Ashworth, freshman Jessica Baird found open space some 25 yards out and lofted a high arching shot that perfectly settled under the crossbar and into the net, that goal in the 62nd minute. Freshman Charley Dusenbury then closed the scoring with three seconds left, getting a cross from Gabby Savaia on the right side and hitting a low drive into the left corner of the net.
“I’m glad we actually finished some chances today,” said Polk County head coach Lennox Charles. “We had a few at Shelby (last week) that we didn’t, and even today, I don’t think our percentage was really high, but we’ll take it. And it was spread out, so that was good.”
Charles also continued to be pleased with Polk’s defensive back.
“First half, we gave up a couple of chances that I wasn’t quite that thrilled about, but overall, we’re figuring it out and I think we’re doing a better job.”
Polk County returns to G.M. Tennant on Wednesday, hosting East Henderson in a 6 p.m. match. That game will also be streamed live on NFHS Network.