Blaze move into third with win
Janelle Wojtowicz with the ball during the Portage Blaze game against the Hanover Hype on May 26. (Kevin Hirschfield/THE GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)
With six games remaining in the Winnipeg Women's Soccer League season, the Portage Blaze have their sights set on promotion.
Sarah Mansell scored twice and the Blaze picked up a 3-0 win over Hanover Hype in Steinbach Sunday, moving into third place in the 10-team first division, three points back of second place. The top two teams in Division 1 at the end of the season earn promotion into the championship division next season.
Portage is now 3-0-2 in their last five games and move their overall record to 6-2-4 on the season.
Coach Bryan Mintenko said it was a solid defensive effort from his girls, which is nothing new as the Blaze have allowed just 16 goals against in 12 games this season, third fewest in the division.
"It was a solid defensive effort as Meriel Bond, Adele Butcher and Kim Cowan played the entire game in very hot conditions and completely shut down the Hype attack," said Mintenko. "Meriel Bond was given the task of marking the division's goal scoring leader, Hanover Hype's Julika Kehler, and Bond won the battle preventing Kehler from getting any quality shots on net."
It was Portage's leading scorer, Sarah Mansell, who potted the game's first goal in the 64th minute with a shot from 25 yards out that sailed over the Hype keeper's head and in. Mansell played a role in the Blaze's second goal just three minutes later, sending a corner kick into the penalty area where Val Desjardins headed a shot into the lower left side.
And Mansell added her second of the night and eighth of the year with 10 minutes to go, intercepting a goal kick and chipping a shot over the keeper.
Regular Portage keeper Katie Ward was still playing forward due to a sprained finger suffered at the team's tournament in Kenora and Nicole Anderson filled in, picking up the shutout in net.
The Blaze will face another tough opponent, Victorious Secret (6-3-2), in their next contest on Aug. 7 at Republic of Manitobah Park.