BELOIT - With graduation removing much of the firepower around her, Alyssa Jimenez of the Beloit Knitro has found scoring goals a much tougher proposition this year.
Until Thursday night, that is.
Jimenez scored pretty much at will against visiting Janesville Parker, finding the back of the net six times in a 7-1 Big Eight Conference victory at Jacobson Field. It brought back memories of last season when she scored 25 goals.
"Yeah, we haven't scored as many goals this year," the diminutive senior said. "I've been trying. We played better this game. We know we need to talk more and make better passes."
Jimenez really took matters into her own hands, scoring five first-half goals and then tacking on perhaps the most impressive of the bunch for her sixth.
On that goal, she seemingly played cat-and-mouse with half the Parker team over half the field before finally beating the goalie in another 1-on-1.
"I was looking to pass, but I just took off and I kept going by people," Jimenez said with a grin. "I figured, oh well, I might as well shoot it. That was pretty fun."
"I think she got by five or six players," Knitro head coach Brian Denu said. "She's a neat kid and the program is definitely going to miss having her around. Life was a lot easier for her last year when we had a lot more options with the twins (Marci and Gabi Arreguin) and Ally (Bosetti). When Amber (Wald) scored tonight she was just the fourth girl on the team to score for us this season. Usually we have between eight and 12 scorers."
Denu said he saw some good progress from his team at a weekend tournament in New Glarus, but he wasn't impressed with its effort in a 5-0 loss to Verona on Tuesday.
"Tonight, we struggled a little bit with the way they were playing us defensively, trapping us, and we were off-sides a couple of times," he said. "But when you have a player like Alyssa who can dice through people you can't really play a defense like that for long unless you are really fast and good."
The Vikings aren't in that category. The first time Jimenez shot past them, they tackled her and she ended up burying a penalty shot. After that she scored on shots to the left, right and over the top. She put Beloit up 6-0 before Wald scored with 10 minutes left to make it 7-0.
Denu said the Knitro are still struggling to develop other scorers.
"Some of our players haven't embraced going from role players last year to stepping up a little more than that this year," denu said. We only haDe four girls who play club soccer. It's tough when you play a team like Middleton where every one of their players except one plays at a high level of club soccer.
"We do have some talented kids coming up," said Denu, who has announced he won't be back as head next spring. "A freshman like Marielli Perez has a lot of potential. Hopefully whoever takes over as coach next year will have a nice group of sophomores to work with."