Rosner nets 5 goalsNo. 14-ranked Fairfield whips Knoxville 7-1
Fairfield senior Emma Rosner had the soccer ball at her toe 30 yards from Knoxville’s net.
Just over one minute had been played on Tuesday at Trojan Stadium.
The contest was scoreless.
Rosner dribbled forward and gave a pass to Alie Kensett on the wing. Teammate Kristin Burnstedt raced forward, straight through the center of the Panther defense, and received a sweet feed from Kensett.
All the while, Rosner was charging, too.
Burnstedt gave a perfect leading pass to Rosner who was 11 yards from net. Rosner has a bazooka for a leg but this was a time for finesse: She soft-pooched that ball right over keeper Taylor Karns’ head and directly into the net.
“Kristin gave me a pretty pass and I just finished it,” Rosner said.
And that particular finish was, really, just the warm-up act for Rosner and the Trojans.
Rosner scored once more in the first half, again off a Burnstedt assist, giving Fairfield a 3-0 lead at the break.
“Kristin and I play well together,” Rosner said. “She has a strong foot and she’s a very good player.”
And then Rosner went ballistic in the second half, scoring three more goals, giving her five for the contest.
Ultimately, Fairfield defeated Knoxville, 7-1, remaining undefeated in 2017.
The Panthers (1-4) had no answer for Rosner but they had plenty of trouble with other Trojans, too.
Ahead 1-0 with 37:29 left in the first half, Fairfield center-midfielder and key team leader Mikaela Lunsford stood 19 yards away from the Knoxville net. A long shot, that’s for sure. But Lunsford was open, her teammates were covered and … why not?
“Normally, in that situation, I pass,” Lunsford said. “But I saw I had the open opportunity.”
And the confidence of her teammates.
“Mikaela has a very strong foot,” Rosner said. “Whenever she’s got that opportunity, we’re glad she’ll take the shot.”
Lunsford sent a torpedo to the lower left corner of the net. Karns got a hand on it but the shot had too much power for a keeper to contain — and Fairfield (5-0) led 2-0 with less than three minutes played.
“We had a great start to this game,” said Trojan head coach Mandy Mellum. “I loved the pass sequence we used to score our first goal and then I liked that far shot Mikaela took: You want your teams to utilize a lot of different options to score. Mikaela has a strong foot and a solid aim.”
Knoxville tallied with 34:45 to play in the game, cutting Fairfield’s lead to 3-1.
Still up 3-1 with 26:22 to play, Rosner stood 40 yards from the Panther net, ball at toe.
Rosner raced forward, dribbling by a Panther forward.
And Rosner kept going: She dribbled by two Knoxville midfielders. Then Rosner whirled past a defender.
Finally, Rosner was 10 yards from net — and keeper Karns never had a chance. Rosner left no doubt with a wickedly sharp upper-net blast.
It was a beautiful dribble-drive goal.
“I was just running,” Rosner explained. “My feet were going. At that point, I wasn’t thinking, I’m just charging the net. Sometimes I get in a zone: ‘Net, net, net.’ I do want to pass and try and look up. But if there is no option, keep kicking it forward and sometimes that’s the best bet.”
Said Mellum, “Emma’s ability to maintain the ball is impressive.”
Rosner’s fourth goal was from 7 yards out with 22:04 to play and her fifth goal, with 8:02 on the clock, was a 6-yarder.
A minute later, Kensett finished the scoring with a sensational 14-yard blast that was magnificently placed into the upper-right corner of the net.
“Nothing went through my head on that shot,” Kensett said. “I just kicked it as hard as I could and somehow it went into the right corner. Amanda Carminhato gets the assist on that goal because she was on the bench yelling, ‘Shoot it!’”
Carminhato and her fellow defenders got plenty of credit from the boss, too.
“Our defense communicated so well,” Mellum said. “Our defensive wings — Amanda Carminhato, RaeAnn McClaran, Nicole Buch and Shelby McKune — went out and took on attacking players higher up. Corynn Klehm cleans up very nicely.
“And (right center-back) Shannon Morrissey’s support through the midfield is so helpful. She is one of our captains and she leads the team on and off the field. She always gives it her all.”
Also giving it her all this season has been keeper Kelsey Hollander, who had a huge game on Tuesday.
She made eight saves. Equally important, she fired up her teammates by repeatedly diving forward and grabbing loose balls to stop Knoxville offensive thrusts.
“Kelsey played a great game,” Mellum said.
Said Hollander, “Any chance I can get it, I’ll go for it.”
“Kelsey has gotten a lot better at grabbing those balls that are rolling in,” Lunsford said. “Plus, she’s gotten better at telling us all where to go, which really helps because she has the best view of all of us.”