• Photo Showcase: Nebraska state soccer, May 9
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The reigning queens of Class B got a first-half scare Wednesday evening, but had more than enough down the stretch.
Top-ranked Omaha Skutt, the three-time defending Class B champion, scored the final four goals in a 5-1 victory against unranked Gering in the first round of the girls state soccer tournament at Creighton's Morrison Stadium.
Skutt moves on to Saturday's 9 a.m. semifinal after winning its first-round match for the fifth consecutive season. The SkyHawks won the semifinals in each of those seasons, too.
Natalie Johnson got Skutt on the board in the fourth minute with a lofted shot from about 35 yards out that got over the head of keeper Margaret Martin. Gering answered 4 ½ minutes later on a free kick from outside the box that sailed high into the back of the net.
“I thought the girls played really well,” Gering coach Lisa Sweeney said. “They responded there. We felt like coming in we would need to play a solid defense.”
Skutt would get a goal from Ali Graham in the 17th minute to take a lead into the half. Marquette recruit Elizabeth Bartels then scored the first of her two goals barely six minutes into the second half. Olivia Taphorn added a goal later in the half, cleaning up a loose ball out of a scrum in the box.
Hannah Ehresman then assisted on Bartels' second score with just over six minutes to play. It gave the junior forward 31 goals on the season.
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs notched their first goal in state tournament history and proved they could play with some of the state's best.
“For us,” Sweeney said, “it's a step forward in our program.”
Gering (13-7)......................1 0—1
Omaha Skutt (16-1)...........2 3—5
• Goals: G, Josie Thompson; OS, Natalie Johnson, Ali Graham, Elizabeth Bartels 2, Hannah Ehresman.
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