Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Forget any advanced scouting, opponent defensive patterns or scoring trends.
All those things coaches spend hours pouring over in an attempt to gain insight into how to get the ball in the net.
Solon teammates Morgan Link and Stella Mesch don’t need them.
The duo has their own way of anticipating when scoring opportunities are on the horizon.
“We do it a lot where I’ll score and then she’ll score,” Mesch said. “It’s happened a lot.”
The Link and Mesch scoring combo came together again on Tuesday as Solon pulled away for a 4-0 win over Maquoketa on a warm and overcast evening at Spartan Stadium in Solon.
Link had a pair of goals and Mesch scored one on Tuesday as Solon improved to 5-3 and 4-2 in WAMAC play with its third win in its last four matches.
“We have followed each other with goals a lot, that’s something we always seem to do,” Link said. “If one of us scores the other always seems to score so whenever I see Stella score, I always think about it and think I’m about to score.”
It took some time for Solon to get its offense in gear on Tuesday.
The Spartans slogged through the first 20 minutes, lacking energy as Maquoketa (1-7, 1-6) kept the match scoreless until past the halfway point of the opening half.
“We had lots of opportunities that we weren’t capitalizing on and had low energy in that final third,” Solon coach Amanda Paulson said. “We were talking to the girls about more numbers into the box in the final third and just finishing and finding the corners. They were creating opportunities but there was no hunger to make that final push.”
Mesch snapped a scoreless tie and turned the energy around for the Spartans when she scored on a rebound attempt off a Gabby Knipper free kick in the 22nd minute.
Maquoketa keeper Addie Michel couldn’t handle Knipper’s free kick from 25 yards out and Mesch slipped the ball past the feet of Michel following the ricochet to put the Spartans up 1-0.
“We call it crashing the goal and pretty much on any shot we are supposed to do that,” Mesch said. “When it’s a free kick I just ran at it and tried to get a foot on it and hoped it went in the goal.”
It didn’t take long for Link to get into the scoring act.
The sophomore made it 2-0 Solon with a goal less than three minutes later slipping a low shot past Michel.
It was third time this season Link and Mesch have scored goals in the same game.
“Scoring is a lot of fun and for my club team I usually don’t score,” Link said. “Whenever I see Stella scoring I think there is a chance for me so that’s when I go for mine.”
Link put the game fully out of reach with her second goal of the match less than 13 minutes into the second half.
The sophomore dribbled into the box and tucked a shot into the upper left-hand corner of the goal for her team-leading 10th goal of the season.
“Once we score one goal that’s when we find our groove,” Link said. “That’s when we start playing together and we get the defense spread out.”
Freshman Grace Yetley capped the scoring with a goal on a breakaway with 9:17 left.
Solon has won five of seven since a season-opening loss to Marion with its only loss in its last four coming to Class 2A Liberty High.
The Spartans return to action on Thursday at Class 2A ninth-ranked Mount Vernon (9-0).
“Our game against (Dyersville) Beckman was by far our best defensive game and our game against Benton was by far the best offensive game we’ve had,” Paulson said. “So if we could bring those two games together and play like that every game I have full confidence in our ability throughout our remaining conference games. It’s about finding that energy.”