Effie Nistler channelled Keenan Moreta at the Wolverines’ home opener.
Nistler scored a hat trick for the Bayfield High School girls soccer team Friday, providing a third of the Wolverines’ goals as they beat Intermountain League rival Ridgway 9-1 at Wolverine Country Stadium.
“It was pretty cool,” Nistler said. “Last year, first game, Keenan got one, and I thought I better match her.”
All of them displayed a little bit different flair.
First the junior launched one from the top of the box. The ball bounced a couple of feet in front of Demons’ keeper Alexis Dimpault-Darcy and blooped up under her arm.
It was 2-0 Bayfield in the 14th minute.
Next, Nistler jockeyed through a pair of defenders, turned around and slid the ball low to the far corner of the Ridgway goal.
“I was at the top of the box,” said Nistler, daughter of Lorio and Tim Nistler. “Tight spaces and a couple of defenders. Good moves. I thought I earned that one more than the others.”
It was 3-0 Bayfield in the 21st minute.
Nistler’s groundball in the goal mouth deflected off a Ridgway defender and slipped past Dimpault-Darcy.
It was 6-0 Bayfield in the 47th minute.
And if Bayfield athletic director Dave Preszler had been wearing a hat, he would’ve thrown it. He wasn’t, so Nistler instead gave him a razzing earful after the match.
“Her big goal this year: She wants to fill Keenan’s role,” said BHS head coach Jen Zelinski, who called Nistler the hardest worker on the team.
Moreta scored 75 goals at BHS, including a conference-leading 23 her senior season.
“She wants to be the one to take the free kicks; she wants to be the one to score the goals ... she wants to be the standout,” Zelinski said.
Mission accomplished, for Friday at least, where the Wolverines as a whole were the standout over the Demons in every way.
Bayfield tallied 35 shots to just two from Ridgway. Dimpault-Darcy saved 11 of them.
Still, Ridgway scored on half of its attempts – a long, flat-angled shot by Alma Johnson that soared over leaping Bayfield keeper Andrea Lahoz and nestled into the top net corner in the 76th minute.
It only was the third time the Demons were able to get the ball across midfield.
Zelinski said passing made the difference in the big margin.
“It was definitely an improvement,” said Zelinski, comparing Friday’s game to Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Alamosa. “We looked terrible on Tuesday. We just tried to dribble around everybody.”
Friday, the Wolverines moved the ball from feet to feet to net.
Before Johnson’s goal, the Wolverines had been threatening to end the match by 10-goal mercy rule.
Jaida Ross scored the first goal for Bayfield, a blast from the top of the box in the ninth minute.
After Nistler’s first two, Meaghan Mooney scored on a Nistler cross, putting the ball into the top of the goal shortly before halftime for a 4-0 lead.
Thirty seconds into the second half, Grace Harvey punched a pass passed a charging Ridgway defender, and the shot deflected off the outreached hand of a diving Dimpault-Darcy for a five-goal lead.
Linsdey Reinmuth made it 7-0 in the 46th, then Jordyn Harrison scored on a perfect penalty kick into the upper right-hand corner that left Dimpault-Darcy standing flat-footed.
Maddy Duran wrapped up the Wolverines’ goal-scoring with a shot to match Ross’ first, a long blast from a stride outside the box.
The easy margin allowed Zelinski to make use of her reserves and try players at a variety of positions. With just three seniors on the team, the girls still are trying to figure out their place on the pitch, the Wolverines’ sixth-year head coach said, so Friday’s match helped move the Wolverines forward.
“It was nice to be able to move everybody around,” Zelinski said.
They also got practice with unusual ball movement. A steady wind and frequent powerful gusts sent the ball bending and on bizarre bounces.
BHS (3-2, 1-1 IML) should get more practice against Telluride at 11 a.m. today, when wind gusts of up to 30 miles an hour are expected in Bayfield.