Blake's Meghan Bauer, middle, races through an opening between Cretin-Derham Hall's Colette Rogers (19) and Caitlyn Russell (13). Photo by Loren Nelson
Some star athletes rely only on their skills to succeed in sports, playing with free-flowing impulse.
As senior Meghan Bauer lined up eight meters from the Cretin-Derham Hall goaltender for a free shot, she showed why she isn't that type of star. She was armed with a strategy.
“I try to just run as fast as I can at the net just fake the goalie a few times,” Bauer said. “I guess the most important thing is to just see where the goalie is and try and hit there.
“I have a plan every time.”
Blake's Meghan Bauer, left, looks for an opening in the Cretin-Derham Hall defense as the Raiders' Caitlyn Russell applies the defense. Photo by Loren Nelson
Neither the collapsing defenders nor the goalie in her way proved to be much of an obstacle as Bauer raced forward and launched a bullet past the Raiders’ Brianna Bangle to score in Blake’s 15-12 victory over Cretin-Derham Hall on Friday, April 20.
Bauer scored twice on free shots and four times in all to the No. 1-ranked Bears past the No. 6-ranked Raiders at Concordia University’s Seafoam Stadium in St. Paul.
The play was indicative of Bauer’s approach to the game. She is always thinking, always looking ahead and always planning.
With her reputation well known, and high-scoring teammate Lydia Sutton injured on the sideline, Bauer was forced to deal with a Cretin-Derham Hall team that made her its defensive focal point. That type of attention didn’t quiet Bauer’s game once there was a strategy in place to exploit it.
“They were faceguarding me for most of the game, and whenever I went behind the net I saw that there was a double waiting for me on the crease,” Bauer said. “I decided my best chances would be coming in from the sides not the top, so I just would wait for the defender not to be looking.”
With the defenders not looking, Bauer would scream through the middle of the field and draw whistles, earning her way to free shots that proved fruitful. In this way, she used the Raiders’ defense to her advantage, something her coach Laura Mark was grateful for.
“Meghan’s a great player, she’s been a great player for us for four years now,” Mark said. “She’s tough and she’s competitive, she knows the game well. She has great ball possession skills, she has great game sense. She’s really been a leader for us in a lot of different ways”
Distracted defenders also opened up opportunities for other players to step in.
“Well my teammates really help me out,” Bauer said. “Whenever they see girls flocking to me, they really work to get open and to make sure I know they’re there.”
“We’re trying to find those spaces,” Mark echoed. “That’s an opportunity for us and we’re working on that.”
Although the game didn’t go completely as planned, Bauer and her teammates escaped Seafoam Stadium with a quality win and good experience for the Bears moving forward.
“This win was definitely one of our tougher games that we’ll have this season…” she said. “I know that our team got frustrated but this was a big win overall simply because we came out on top after a hard fought battle, and I think this really is a turning point for us in our season.”
Meghan Bauer and top-ranked Blake may have been the headliners, but Chloe Kinsel made sure everyone who watched Cretin-Derham Hall’s 15-12 loss was talking about her after the matchup.
Kinsel scored six goals in the second half, including four within the last 10 minutes. She led a frantic charge for the Raiders that chopped a seven goal Blake lead to just three.
She powered her way inside, drawing free shots and found plenty of nylon, finishing with eight goals and three assists.
“What can you ask for?” Cretin-Derham Hall coach Andrew Lecker said after the game. “Eight goals and three assists. When you look at her four years, she’s been dominant in four years, this is her senior year. We look to her to lead and take charge and she showed tonight she can do it. Not just playing a weaker team, against the best.”
Cretin-Derham Hall senior Chloe Kinsel scored eight goals and added three assists in the Raiders' loss to top-ranked Blake. Photo by Loren Nelson
At times the Raiders simply looked overmatched. Even so, they kept chipping away and stayed within striking distance until Kinsel decided to give it her best shot and let the fireworks fly.
Kinsel is a Division III Wisconsin-River Falls recruit for hockey. Lecker said Kinsel chose to turn down an opportunity at playing Division I hockey in order to have the possibility of playing club lacrosse.
“Left and right handed, dominant and non-dominant she has it all, Lecker said. “ It’s a blessing to have her.
“That’s a natural athletic ability. It’s the hands, it’s the quickness, it’s the reading and reacting, and she’s able to do that night in and night out.”
Even Blake was in awe of Kinsel’s performance by the time the final horn sounded.
“I think all in all, our defense fought really hard to shut down [Kinsel]…” Bauer said, breaking into a smile and laughing. “I guess it didn’t really work out.”
No. 1-ranked Blake held on for a 15-12 victory after Cretin-Derham Hall charged back to within three goals late in the second half on Friday, April 20, at Concordia University’s Seafoam Stadium in St. Paul.
Chloe Kinsel netted eight goals in the loss for Cretin-Derham Hall, including six goals in the second half, most of which came during the Raiders’ comeback attempt. Facing a large deficit and stacked odds, the Raiders continued to fight, scaring Blake near the end of the game.
Meghan Bauer scored four times for the Bears, who jumped out to a 7-1 lead, and were ahead by five at the end of the first half.
At the midway point of the second half, Blake led by seven as the Bears' high-powered offense sliced the Raiders.
Bauer and company took advantage of numerous free shots and goals on the doorstep, scoring efficiently most of the contest.
Tempers flared in the waning moments of the game as frustration mounted for Blake. Yellow cards were handed out and the Bears' Anne Slusser, who had scored five points, was forced to leave the game after receiving a red card.
1. Chloe Kinsel, Cretin-Derham Hall
The senior attackman made the top-ranked team in the state look like a JV squad in the second half. She finished with eight goals and three assists, and was responsible for six goals in the second frame.
2. Meghan Bauer, Blake
Bauer scored four times, including a key goal late that helped the Bears pad their lead. The senior was a force to be reckoned with, drawing plenty of attention from the defense and scoring twice on free shots.
3. Anne Slusser, Blake
Although she had to take a seat for a red card, Slusser picked up five points for Blake (3 goals, 2 assists) and played an all-around solid game. At times, she was more noticeable than Bears star Meghan Bauer, and Slusser helped plug the hole left by Lydia Sutton sitting out with injury.