Most of us say "thanks" without thinking.
April 12--CLINTON -- Hannah Dehner and her Clinton High girls soccer teammates figured it was just a matter of time before they broke through with some insurance goals.
While one of the Clinton co-coaches said it probably was good for the River Queens to play a close game for so long, the other wasn't so sure.
"If you enjoy heart attacks, it was great," Bill Feaster said.
The Queens finally relieved Feaster of the stress, scoring twice in the final 7 minutes, 30 seconds to beat Northeast 3-0 in their season opener Friday night at Coan Field. Hannah Burken scored the second goal and assisted on the third.
"I'm happy we responded in the second half," Feaster said.
"Eventually, I knew we'd score," said Dehner, who assisted on the game's lone goal in the first 82 1/2 minutes. "We worked their defense out tonight.
"It's definitely a confidence booster."
Co-coach Spencer Mesick said there was no harm in playing a close game for almost 75 minutes.
"It really helps to go 1-0 for so long," he said. "Especially looking ahead to Muscatine (Clinton's next opponent, Tuesday at home), where we're going to have to be on our toes the whole game."
Clinton was on the attack for most of the game, but the Northeast defense and goalkeeper Haley Bielenberg continually kept the ball out of the net.
"We have a first-year goalkeeper who is learning and improving by leaps and bounds," Northeast coach Matthew Kepple said. "Kaile Hoffmann, our sweeper, did real well, too. It was pretty even until the last eight minutes, when we got tired. We ran out of steam."
It was just the type of game Kepple wants to see from the Rebels.
"We play a counterattack style, then go for it," he said. "We hope for close games."
Thanks to the defensive effort, that's just what they got.
Clinton broke the scoreless tie early in the 28th minute when Dehner had a free kick from 22 yards out on the right football sideline and threaded it through the defense to set up Allison Gandrup for a goal on the weak side.
"Coach says to go for the far post," Dehner said, explaining her setup. "I thought I could get it to (a teammate's) foot and they'll get the goal. You have to have faith in the players."
Dehner, who also is Clinton's top goalkeeper, enjoyed the chance to play on the offensive end.
"Definitely," she said. "We have a new keeper (Jenna Stremlow) we're trying to test out.
The River Queens put the game away with a pair of goals in a 1:21 span.
They made it 2-0 when a shot from Lauren Pittman hit the cross bar, and the rebound bounced off Burken's chest into the goal in the 73rd minute. Shortly thereafter, Burken had the ball on the left side and made a crossing passing to Krista Atkinson, and she scored from the right side.
"Hannah has a nose for the ball," Feaster said.
The game marked the home debut for the Queens on the new turf at Coan Field.
"The girls have been waiting for this night for a long time," Feaster said.
They're hoping it's a positive omen for the rest of the season.
"We only lost a couple of starters," Dehner said. "We're coming together nicely. We're talking together. We can put it together not just for this year, but for years to come."
CLINTON 3, NORTHEAST 0
Northeast 0 0 -- 0
Clinton 1 2 -- 3
C -- Allison Gandrup (Hannah Dehner) 27:07
C -- Hannah Burken (Lauren Pittman), 72:30
C -- Krista Atkinson (Burken), 73:51
(c)2014 the Clinton Herald (Clinton, Iowa)
Visit the Clinton Herald (Clinton, Iowa) at clintonherald.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services