The Crookston Pirate Girl’s Soccer team scored early in the first half, but couldn’t hold off East Grand Forks, as the Green Wave prevailed 6-1 on Tuesday night in the opening round of the Section 8A girls’ soccer tournament at East Grand Forks High School.

Right away, East Grand Forks found a rhythm on offense and scored early. Just five minutes in, senior Grace Kronlund gave the Green Wave a 1-0 lead with an unassisted goal from about 20 yards out. Only four minutes later, Kronlund had an assist of her own as junior Macie Stanislawski scored inside the Crookston 18-yard-box, giving EGF a quick 2-0 lead. After a penalty against East Grand Forks, Crookston’s Olivia Huck took a free kick about 40 yards away from the Green Wave goal and sent the ball right to senior Kenze Epema, who was able to sneak the ball into the goal, making it a 2-1 game just 11 and-a-half minutes into the game. “It was a little bit of a downer that (EGF) got two quick goals,” Crookston head coach Sarah Reese said. “But it was awesome that we had a lot of energy. Olivia has great kicks from a free-kick perspective, and Kenze has the tenacity to find the goal and find it through people. It was a mess of people, but she was able to find the net, and that was a great start to the game.” The score remained 2-1 for nearly 15 minutes, but the Green Wave would extend their lead. Junior Brooklyn Sayler scored an unassisted goal from about 18 yards away at the 26-minute mark. Then, with just 30 seconds left in the first half, eighth-grader Camryn Adams scored a goal off a terrific cross pass from fellow eighth-grader Jill Frost. The Green Wave led 4-1 at halftime. “That last goal was a little deflating,” Reese said. “We talked about the importance of not allowing shots to be taken without pressure. Unfortunately, three of EGF’s goals in the first half were uncontested. That last one was a rebound shot. Unlucky as they are, that’s one of the things we talked about. Anytime we made their shot difficult, they didn’t come to fruition. Those couple of times where we didn’t have great coverage were the times that they capitalized.”

East Grand Forks kept its foot on the gas to start the second half, keeping the pressure on Crookston defensively. Just a little more than four minutes into the second half, sophomore Kara Ellis scored off of an assist from Grace Kronlund. After about 26 minutes of scoreless play, the Green Wave added one more on the board. Senior Grace Kronlund found the goal from about 20 yards out, off a pass from Camyrn Adams. Crookston had some scoring chances in the second half. Makenze Epema had a breakaway and made into the 18-yard-box and was just in front of the goal, but tripped over Green Wave keeper Kadynn Melquist. Later in the second half, Epema nearly scored again off of a corner kick from Olivia Huck, but ultimately, there were too many Green Wave defenders in front of the goal. “All 80 minutes, our girls played in the moment,” Reese said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them. This was the most consistent offensive possession we’ve had against EGF. A lot of the play in the second half was in the middle third of the field. We were not able to find people and find the net in the opportunities that we had.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t for lack of effort. I’m very proud. This has been a tremendous group of girls.”

The Pirates end the 2020 season with a 4-8 record and say goodbye to seniors – Kenze Epema, Dani Haake, and Joslynn Leach.
East Grand Forks improves to 9-2-1 and will host #4 seed Bemidji on Thursday at 7 p.m. 

1st 2nd Final
East Grand Forks 4 2 6

Scoring –
5:00 – EGF – Grace Kronlund (Unassisted)
9:07 – EGF – Macie Stanislawski (Grace Kronlund)
11:26 – Crox – Makenze Epema (Olivia Huck)
26:22 – EGF – Brooklyn Sayler
39:30 – EGF – Camryn Adams (Jill Frost)
44:22 – EGF – Kara Ellis (Grace Kronlund)
73:28 – EGF – Grace Kronlund (Camryn Adams)

SAVES 1st 2nd Final
Reese Swanson – Crox 5 6 11
Kadynn Melquist – EGF 1 1 2