No. 7 Gilbert has its way with overmatched Lynx

WCHS defender Katie Piaszynski (5) crashes into Gilbert’s Bella Saad late in the first half Monday evening in Gilbert. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

GILBERT — One team stepped onto the pitch here Monday evening with the key offensive pieces back from a state tournament team a season ago. The other lined up looking to replace its all-time leader in goals and assists, as well as one of the premier defenders in program history.

It looked like a mismatch on paper. It played out that way too.

Speed, skill and experience all slanted towards seventh-ranked (Class 1A) Gilbert and the Tigers wasted little time in putting Webster City on the defensive en route to an 11-1 victory that made it just 18 seconds into the second half before the match ended.

Gilbert (1-0), a state qualifier in each of the past three seasons, extended its winning streak over WCHS (0-1) to nine consecutive matches dating back nearly five years. Over that stretch, the Tigers have outscored the Lynx 72-3.

WCHS last beat Gilbert in April of 2014, 2-1.

WCHS senior Brianna Luke (9) attempts to boot the ball past Gilbert’s Tyler Pudenz (16) during Monday’s match in Gilbert. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Without Sarah Vogelbacher, who graduated last May following a career that included program records for goals (58) and assists (26), WCHS had to go in search for a new offensive weapon in its season opener. And without Kaitlyn Wagner, a bruising defender who also graduated in 2018, the Lynx back line struggled to keep up with the crisp passing and talent of Gilbert.

Seniors Eve Steckelberg and Hannah Thatcher, who entered the campaign with 24 and 18 career goals respectively, commanded Gilbert to seven goals in the initial 7 minutes, 2 seconds of play. The Tigers found the back of the net on each of their first eight shots against an overmatched Lynx defense.

Gilbert pulled off the throttle quickly and ran reserves onto the field throughout the remainder of the first half. The Tigers took a 10-1 lead into the intermission and then closed out the dominant victory on Natalie Rudman’s second goal of the match in the opening moments of the second half.

Thatcher, Isabelle Johnson and Erin Bathie joined Rudman with two goals. Steckelberg, Madeline Meseke and Katie Currans added one goal each.

The Lynx lone score was on an own goal in the 13th minute. Gilbert’s Aubrey Mizerak attempted to pass the ball back to goalkeeper Emma Bulman, but the boot went wide of her target and skipped into the back of the net.

Webster City goalkeeper Josselin Guendulay is unable to get a glove on a shot bound for the back of the net during the early moments against Gilbert Monday evening in Gilbert. The seventh-ranked (Class 1A) Tigers scored seven goals in the first 7:02 on their way to an 11-1 victory over the Lynx. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Gilbert peppered WCHS goalkeeper Josselin Guendulay with 31 shots, 21 of which were on frame. Guendulay was a sitting duck against blasts from close range, but managed to get her gloves on 10 saves.

WCHS will turn its attention to Thursday’s home opener against Mason City. The varsity match from Lynx Field is scheduled to get underway at 5:30 p.m.

Gilbert 11, Webster City 1

Monday at Gilbert

Webster City 1 0 — 1

WCHS junior Natasha Garcia looks to wall off the run of Gilbert’s Amy Taylor (11) during the first half on Monday in Gilbert. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Gilbert 10 1 — 11

Goals — WC: Own goal 13th minute. Gilbert: Hannah Thatcher 2nd minute, Madeline Meseke 4th minute, Isabelle Johnson 4th minute, Thatcher 5th minute, Johnson 5th minute, Eva Steckelberg 6th minute, Natalie Rudman 8th minute, Erin Bathie 15th minute, Bathie 26th minute, Katie Currans 34th minute, Rudman 41st minute. Shots — WC 0, GIL 31. Shots on goal — WC 0, GIL 21. Corner kicks — WC 0, GIL 5.