Hibbing Daily Tribune
HIBBING — It’s been a tough year for the young Hibbing/Chisholm High School girls soccer team, but now, their regular-season schedule can be thrown out the window.
That’s because it’s playoff time and all teams start 0-0.
The Bluejackets have a chance to turn things around today when they travel to Elk River to take on Spectrum High School, beginning at 4 p.m., a Section 7A first-round game.
According to Hibbing/Chisholm coach Brittany Lindstrom, it was a season of adversity.
“We had younger girls, injuries, weather, so nothing came easily,” Lindstrom said. “We had to work for it, which isn’t a bad thing. Overall, all we asked is that they get better every day.
“It would be great to win a section championship and go to state, but at the end of the day, high school sports is about life lessons and making memories. That’s all that we want them to achieve. Hopefully, someday, we’ll get to that. It’s all a work in progress.”
Lindstrom did like the effort she saw out of her team all season.
“We have good, committed athletes here,” she said. “There’s been a lot of turnover for coaching and everything like that for the last couple of years. Now, we’re finally building those relationships, especially having such a young team and not a lot of older girls.
“That’s something that gets hard to happen in a two-month season. Overall, we have a great group of girls, and great leaders out there that encourage the team to work their hardest. As a coach, all you can ask is giving 100-percent. They can make mistakes as long as they’re working hard.”
As far as Spectrum goes, the Sting have a 4-11-1 record, compared to 3-12 for Hibbing/Chisholm.
“Either way, it’s going to be a competitive game” Lindstrom said. “We have to go out and hold our own for a full 80 minutes and not just 40 anything like that.”
The Bluejackets will have to put some goals on the board, and it should help getting Ayva Burkes back from injury.
“She’s been doing some exercising and running,” Lindstrom said. “Her ankle is a lot better, so we’re banking on her to push that offensive momentum today. She has that great killer instinct and attitude, where there’s no other option than to get a goal.
“Just having her in the offensive line is so great. She pushes all of the other girls. She makes a lot of great plays and openings. Hopefully, she’ll come back strong and healthy, and taking back all of the momentum we had earlier in the season when she was there.”
The Bluejackets will be without goalkeeper Nora Petrich, who was hurt in the Mesabi East Area game. Aella White gets the starting nod in goal for Hibbing/Chisholm.
Lindstrom is hoping that her team will go out and play hard for the three seniors, Natalie Hertling, Grace Gabardi and Olivia Lund.
“This is it, the final countdown,” Lindstrom said. “If we lose, we’re done. If they don’t want to do it for themselves or their coaches, do it for the three seniors, who are having this moment come now.
“It’s real. It’s time to give it 100-percent. Just leave it all on the field.”