CENTERVILLE — If defense really does win championships, then Fremont High has plenty of reasons to feel confident it can challenge for the region and state titles this fall.
The Silver Wolves slammed the door shut on Viewmont's offense on Tuesday afternoon. They repelled one attack after another and needed just a single second-half goal from Mikkel Minnoch to claim a 1-0 victory at Centerville Junior High in 5A girls soccer action.
In three games, Fremont (3-0) has notched three shutouts. Even at times when it looked like the Vikings (1-1) might break through and find the back of the net, the Silver Wolves stayed composed and made defensive stands at just the right times.
"The girls know now they can play with anybody," Fremont coach Sean Hill said. "Even when they don't have their best performance, they can play with anybody. They have that belief in themselves."
Such a belief was only reinforced by critical defensive stops the Silver Wolves made on a series of breakaway shots that Viewmont forward Ali Forsberg took in the first half. Fremont goalkeeper Kelsey Parsons kept the Vikings off the scoreboard, with help from Paige Morgan and a key deflection by Ryley Hansen.
Forsberg cut down the right side of the area in the 10th minute and drilled the ball at the right post. Fremont goalkeeper Kelsey Parsons knocked the shot to the ground and Paige Morgan cleared the ball away.
Forsberg nearly struck again on a breakaway in the 14th minute. It materialized when she tracked down a through ball on the right flank and rifled it at the opposite post. Parsons got a hand on the ball and forced it to hook just wide of the left post.
Then, in the 16th minute, Forsberg took another long through ball and crossed it into Lizzy Rasmussen. Rasmussen had a clear shot in front of the goalmouth, but she was denied when Ryley Hansen flew in from the left post and deflected the ball away at the last minute.
"I just put my body in front of it," Hansen said. "You got to sacrifice your body."
Those efforts finally paid off when Fremont got on the board in the 44th minute. Taylor Ivins set the scoring play in motion when she crossed the ball into Minnoch near the right post. Minnoch had good positioning on Viewmont goalkeeper Alex Cook and was able to slot the ball inside the post to make it 1-0. Breaking the ice offensively swung momentum in the Silver Wolves' favor from the point forward.
"Once we score, we play better," Hansen said. "We play good even if we don't score. But that calmed a lot of nerves once we scored." Hill said things opened up more offensively in the second half because his team made an effort to be patient and let things develop rather than trying to force plays that were not there in the first place.
"We started possessing the ball a little bit better," Hill said. "In the first half, our touch was off. Our passes weren't getting to feet. In the second half, we settled down.
"We started winning the ball in the air, bringing it down to our feet and (we were) just finding players."