By RYAN HERMAN
DENVER –– Wind is typically a nuisance for spring sports, but East Lincoln’s girls soccer team found a way to use it to its advantage.
The Mustangs scored three goals in the first half with the wind at their backs, and after switching fields at intermission their defense held West Caldwell scoreless with the wind howling in their faces in a 3-0 win Tuesday that kept East Lincoln in first in the Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference.
Its win, coupled with Bandys’ 9-0 win over Bunker Hill, leaves the Mustangs and Trojans in an early-season tie atop the league standings.
Had it not been for winning the pregame coin toss and having the choice of playing the first half with or against a frigid 20-plus mph wind at times coming out of the north, Mustangs coach Jason Dragoon knows things could have turned out differently against the Warriors, who were a part of the first-place tie going in.
“Winning the coin toss was huge,” Dragoon said. “The elements were rough, but we found a way to use the wind to our advantage.”
The blustery conditions had their effect on the stats. Kicking the ball into the wind proved to be near impossible, as evident by East Lincoln’s 11-1 advantage in shots in the first half. In the second half, West Caldwell (2-1 SD-7) led in that category 6-1, but had nothing to show for it.
The ball also stayed on the field’s southern end for most of the match, and in the first 40 minutes the Mustangs (5-3-1, 3-0) made their shots count.
Danielle Colanino opened the scoring 11 minutes in on a cross from Lexi Smith for the early 1-0 lead. It took nearly 11 more minutes for East Lincoln to strike again. Tatum Auvil scored her 13th goal of the season on a cross from Colanino with 8:30 left in the half for a 2-0 lead.
Looking for one more goal to really force the Warriors to work in the second half, the Mustangs got it when Smith put Cassidy Farar’s pass into the net with 5:19 to play before the break.
The three goals were enough to keep East Lincoln, which has won five in a row, in first place.
“We needed this one, and the girls played well and hard,” Dragoon said. “This keeps us in a good position.”