Photo by James Parrish
North Platte's Maggie Bianco makes a throw-in against Kearney.
Marisa Martinez's goal helped give North Platte its seventh straight shutout victory on Tuesday as the Bulldogs defeated Kearney 1-0 at Madison Middle School.
NPHS coach Sarah Kaminski said it was another hard-fought win for her team.
"The girls ran their tails off," said Kaminski. "They worked hard and they stayed determined."
Throughout the games, both teams had opportunities to put the ball into the net. But to the credit of both defenses, none of them were converted. The game was scoreless at halftime and as the second half, was starting to wind down, there was still no score.
Kaminski said that it was typical of what her team sees from Coach Tami Anderson's Bearcats every year.
"Kearney always brings a good game," she said. "They're aggressive, well-coached and they played their hearts out."
But then at the 67 minute mark, Martinez got the ball about 25 feet from the goal on the right side of the field and sophomore midfielder put up a shot. The trajectory was perfect; it went up and over Sarah Olson, the Kearney goalie, and into the net for the first goal of the game.
"I had help from my teammates (to get into that position)," said Martinez. "I shot it from (near) the corner and I hoped it would go in. (When it went in) it felt amazing just to get that goal that got us up."
Martinez's goal was all North Platte (10-1) needed. The Lady Bulldog defense and goalie Jackie Paloucek, who haven't surrendered a goal since the team's 6-2 loss to Lincoln Southeast on March 26, did the rest. They held the lead for the remaining 13 minutes to get the win over the Bearcats (6-6).
"I think (my goal) brought up our intensity," Martinez said.
Kaminski said that she was pleased to see Martinez score such a meaningful goal. Martinez may not get as many scoring opportunities for her teammates but that's because she's always working to set them up.
"She's a tremendous player," said Kaminski. "She does everything right for us and it was great to see her get that goal."