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Girls soccer: Agates primed for playoff run

Morgan Beardsley (22), a sophomore forward for the Agates, scored a hat trick during Two Harbors' 5-3 win over North Branch on Saturday, Sept. 29. (Katie Rohman / News-Chronicle)1 / 3
Midfielder Sami Szendrey, a senior at Two Harbors, scored two goals for the Agates on Saturday, Sept. 29. (Katie Rohman / News-Chronicle)2 / 3
Agate girls soccer fans and players bundled up in the 40-degree weather during the game Saturday, Sept. 29, at Halsted Field. (Katie Rohman / News-Chronicle)3 / 3

Two Harbors defensive play has been the strength of the team for several years, but this year's Agate squad has an offense to match.

With less than a week to go until the Section 7A tournament, the Agates have clinched a winning season for the first time in more than a decade.

What's more, they will host a playoff game Thursday, Oct. 11, at Halstead Field in Two Harbors for the first time in several years.

Two years ago, Two Harbors managed just four wins — their only four games with more than one goal — and were shut out seven times. Last season, they managed six wins, but were also shut out an additional six times.

The Agates' Morgan Beardsley (22) boots in a goal past the Vikings' Abby Johnson on Sept. 29. (Katie Rohman / News-Chronicle)Through 15 games in 2018, however, the Agates have been shut out just once and are 10-3-2, with just one regular season game left against Hibbing/Chisholm at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, in Two Harbors.

They also have two of the four top goal scorers in the region in senior Sami Szendrey and sophomore Morgan Beardsley.

The defense and goalies Tricia Osbakken and Callie Bergerson have combined for four shutouts and have allowed one goal in an additional three games.

The real change has been on the offensive end, where the Agates have topped three goals in eight games — all wins.

"It really comes to our team gelling with our passing strategies and passing concepts that we've been practicing all season," coach Tom Szendrey said. "We really started it last year and it is really making sense this year. It's really a progression. Our offensive concepts, our defensive concepts — they are really grasping them well."

Szendrey said he expected his team to improve and have a winning season, but with a win Monday, Oct. 8, over Hibbing/Chisholm, Two Harbors would be eight games over .500 and headed into the playoffs ranked fourth out of 17 Section 7A teams.

Szendrey said another reason for the Agates' success is the performance of players who have seen little or no varsity action before this season.

"We've had some players that haven't seen much varsity action in the past who have really stepped in and played with the confidence that we need them to," Szendrey said. "That's been a big part of our success. I feel we can play better, too. We can still elevate our game more and that's what we are trying to do in the next week."

Saturday, Sept. 29

North Branch 2-1—3

Two Harbors 3-2—5

First half — 1. TH, Morgan Beardsley, 6th; 2. NB, Paige Bauer, 6th; 3. TH, Sami Szendrey (Callie Bergerson), 10th; 4. TH, Beardsley (Bergerson), 21st; 5. NB, N/A, 21st.

Second half — 6. TH, Beardsley (Szendrey), 45th; 7. NB, Paige Bauer, 54th; 8. TH, Szendrey (Sydney Haugan), 77th.

Saves — Abby Johnson, NB, 15; Tricia Osbakken, TH, 6.

Tuesday, Oct. 2

Two Harbors 2-1—3 Mesabi East 0-0—0

First half — 1. Sami Szendrey (Calli Wright), 5th; 2. Szendrey (Elisa Galyen), 25th.

Second half — 3. Callie Bergerson (Elisa Galyen), 73rd.

Saves — Kaitlyn Larsen, ME, 23; TH (multiple) 0.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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