North Branch 8, Eveleth-Gilbert 2 Sophomore Emma Pignato scored a hat trick to lead the Viking girls’ soccer team to an 8-2 win over Eveleth-Gilbert in the season opener. The game was played in front of the home crowd at North Branch High School on Friday, August 23. The Golden Bears scored the first two goals of the game early in the first half. But after shaking off her opening night jitters, Viking junior goalkeeper Sarah Schreder-Gomes worked with the Viking defense to shut down Eveleth for the rest of the game. The Vikings came back to lead 4-2 at the half and scored four more times in the second half to finish off the blowout win.
In addition to Pignato’s hat trick, sophomore Julia Rupp scored twice for the Vikings. Sophomore Madi Tetzlaff and seniors Kadie Mattson and Kora Amunrud also scored. Pignato, Tetzlaff and Mattson each had an assist in the game. The game was a homecoming for Eveleth-Gilbert head coach David Stark, who played his high school soccer for the North Branch boys’ team.
Robbinsdale Cooper 1, North Branch 0 (2 O.T.) Emma Pignato appeared to score the tying goal with two minutes left in the second overtime, but the center referee waved it off, allowing Robbinsdale Cooper to walk away with a 1-0 win over the Vikings Monday, August 26 at Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope. After a tough defensive battle ended in a 0-0 tie at the end of regulation, the Hawks scored a minute into the first overtime to take a 1-0 lead. With two minutes left in the second and final overtime, Pignato took a low shot from just outside the Hawks’ six yard box. It hit the keeper’s hands and rolled to the left, completely crossing the goal line as it did so.
But as Pignato started to celebrate, the goalie reached across the line and swept the ball out into the box, here hand actually brushing against the net. Neither the center referee nor the assistant referee were in position to make the call, so the center referee ruled it was no goal. “It was a heartbreaking loss,” said Viking head coach Doug Larson, “especially on such a controversial play.”
North Branch 6, Rockford 0 Junior Ashley Richter scored the team’s second hat trick of the season to lead the Vikings to a 6-0 win over Rockford last Wednesday, August 29 at Rockford. The Vikings dominated play from start to finish as goalkeeper Sarah Schreder-Gomes picked up her first career shutout. Sophomore Emma Pignato and freshman Nicole Roman each had a goal and an assist for the Vikings. Senior Kadie Mattson scored the team’s other goal, and senior Kora Amunrud picked up an assist. The Vikings (2-1 overall) host St. Francis this afternoon at 5 p.m. at North Branch High School and then welcome Two Harbors to town for a 1 p.m. matinee on Saturday. They will play at Cambridge-Isanti at 5 p.m. next Tuesday, September 10.