ELLSWORTH — Even though Caribou striker Jenna Selander was marked tightly by Ellsworth Thursday afternoon, the Vikings’ senior still managed to burn the Eagles on two occasions.
Selander scored one goal in each half while Paige Small added another as coach Todd Albert’s club remained undefeated with a hard-fought 3-0 victory at Del Luce Stadium.
The hardworking, physical Eagles made the 7-0-1 Vikings, who came in ranked second in the Class B Heal points, earn this one, but Caribou kept its focus throughout the match.
“I think some teams told us to watch out. They’re rough, physical. It’s just part of their game. so we had to be ready for it,” said Selander.
The young Eagles (3-2), came flying out of the gate and generated a few scoring chances, but coach Jen Myers’ club was unable to finish.
“That’s been our trouble a little bit through the season, but with a young group of kids that’s to be expected,” said Myers. “That’ll come with experience, just finding those corners.”
Once Caribou got settled in, the Vikings took advantage of their speed on the outside. Their midfielders consistently gave Jamie Martin and Olivia Sleeper chances to generate attacks.
Selander’s first goal came 14:06 before halftime, as she controlled a Laura Collins throw-in along the left side, took a couple of dribbles and grounded a hard shot into the right side of the net.
“We made eye contact and she threw it right where it needed to be,” said Selander.
That fired the Vikings up even more, but the opportunities they had prior to Selander’s tally had already started to swing the momentum in Caribou’s direction.
“We had a couple shots and a couple opportunities,” Selander said.
Selander gave the Vikings some breathing room 9:04 into the second half, knocking in a direct kick.
That was set up when Olivia Sleeper was tripped up just outside the penalty area while rushing toward the net.
“Olivia did a good job of running down the line,” Selander said.
Paige Small scored the Vikes’ final goal with 20 seconds left, with Martin setting her up.
As has been the case frequently this fall, Caribou was able to take advantage of its set plays, as the Vikings turned two of them into goals.
“We work on our throw-ins and corner-kick plays,” said Small.
Myers commended her defense for keeping Selander marked tightly, especially inside the penalty area.
“That was our goal on defense, to stay tight on her and not give her those shots that she likes to take,” Myers said.
Eagles sophomore Cristin Wright wowed the crowd with her flip throw-ins, a few of which she managed to get inside the penalty area in the second half. But Caribou goalkeeper Morgan Swan was quick to smother most of those before the Eagle attackers could get a head on the ball.
“That’s the other thing we’re learning, too. We had scored off that throw-in the last three games, they’re just getting better every game,” said Myers. “It surprises a lot of the kids that it’s coming in that high, hard. We’ve got to learn how to capitalize on those.”
Caribou’s back line and midfield also showcased their depth, with Albert consistently rotating players in and out.
“I think we’re deeper and a lot stronger this year. It’s gotten better throughout the year,” Small said.
Swan finished with nine saves on 13 shots for Caribou while Jessica Toothaker came up with six stops on 17 shots for Ellsworth.