Baraboo’s defense was tested during its first Badger North Conference game on Thursday at Beryl Newman Stadium.
The Thunderbirds welcomed undefeated DeForest, where freshman goalie Adele Griffin had her work cut out for her as the Norskies outshot Baraboo 17-2. While DeForest’s ball possession eventually caught up to the T-Birds in the second half when the Norskies scored with eight minutes left, senior Amber Lueder found the equalizer to end the game in a 1-1 draw. Lueder was ecstatic after the final whistle.
“This team has come so far and we deserve it so much,” Lueder said. “Our goal this season was to keep going when we’re faced with adversity and that’s what we did. We came out and told (DeForest) who we were.”
Head coach Tyler Lang agreed, ending with a draw against a tough team like DeForest is a success.
“We talk about defending our field and this is our field,” he said. “The goal is to always win at least one conference game so now we’ve got a tie under our belt and that’s a great stepping stone to getting that first. It was a great game, we played a full 90 minutes and that’s one of our team goals this year.”
It was a battle for the ball in the midfield in the opening minutes, before Griffin made her first of many saves at the 8:33 mark. While Griffin played the biggest role in keeping the Norskies scoreless in the first half, so was the rest of Baraboo’s defense as the T-Birds (3-1-1 overall, 0-0-1 Badger North) used smart positioning to deflect crosses and cutoff passes.
“We’ve been working a lot with marking, making sure we’re staying tight on our marks,” said Lang on his team’s defense. “And we’ve been working with transitioning as a defense so when we get the ball we’re getting it up right away so we’re not giving them an easy path.”
Lueder found Baraboo’s first real opportunity at the 10 minute mark but was called for offsides. The T-Birds ran into that problem on a couple of occasions, as a pass was sent to sophomore Zoe Smith but she was also called offsides.
DeForest meanwhile, used its strong midfielders to create numerous attacks, including a shot during the 18th minute which rolled wide left and a couple of corner kicks which Baraboo was able to extinguish with ease. Most of Baraboo’s offense was formed on the counter attack, with junior Jordyn Zalewski finding an opportunity but DeForest’s physical defense broke up the play.
The T-Birds found a couple of chances late in the first, with Lueder finding the ball with nobody in front of her during the 42nd minute but her shot sailed over the crossbar.
Both sides stepped up the intensity in the…