McKellar leads Sparta soccer by Belding

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 9:58 am on Thursday, April 25, 2013

Belding’s Joesi Krieger, right, takes the ball away from Sparta’s Jody Sellers during Wednesday’s game at Rudness Field. Sparta won the conference game 5-0.

BELDING — Sparta’s Savanah MeKellar had a great game. The Belding Redskins defense did not.

McKellar scored four goals as the Spartans dominated the Redskins 5-0 in an O-K Blue game on Wednesday night.

“We need to improve on defense. McKellar is a very good player and we needed to cover her much closer than we did,” Belding coach Blaine Kemme said. “She obviously got the shots and scored tonight. But we need to improve defensively.”

McKellar scored her first goal just 2:43 into the game to give Sparta (3-2, 3-1) a 1-0 lead. Sparta did not score for another 20 minutes, but continued to dominate time of possession.

McKellar’s second goal came with 17:11 remaining in the first half. McKellar raced after a pass deep in the Redskins zone and was able to reach it and score in front of a sliding Sam Parker for Belding.

During the play, a cleat from Parker caught McKellar in the leg. She was down for a little while and missed some time in the first half.

“We struggled with possession tonight,” Kemme said. “We would get our foot on the ball, take it and play it right to Sparta or kick it up field to no one in particular. It was just not happening tonight.”

Francesca Buchanan added a goal for the Spartans with 13:48 left in the half for a 3-0 lead.

Belding keeper Sam Parker sends the ball down field during Wednesday’s game at home.

“So many times we over commit to the ball and let them get around us on the one-on-ones,” Kemme said. “The biggest thing we need to improve on is defense.”

McKellar scored twice more in the second half. The first with 27:57 left and the other with 15:13 remaining.

“I thought we played pretty well. We kept the ball moving and got lots of looks on goal,” Sparta coach Sarah Owens said. “I like to see that.”

Belding (3-2, 2-2) did not register a shot on keeper Lindsey Anible. Parker made nine saves for the Redskins.

The Redskins are playing for the first time on the new field turf installed last fall. Kemme likes the surface, but says the team is still adjusting.

“It’s nice to have in the spring. Normally, the field would be half dirt at this point, so it’s a nice surface to play on,” Kemme said. “The speed of the game is much faster. One of the disadvantages we used to have was a lot of other teams already played on turf. We weren’t used to the speed.

“There is still some adjustment, but we will pick up on it,” he added.

The Redskins junior varsity team mercied the Spartans 9-0. After not fielding a junior varsity team last year because of numbers, the Redskins have 14 freshman on the roster this season.

Belding plays next at Allendale on Friday.

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