Nelson, Klund push Jackson soccer to Lady Indian Showcase sweep

Jackson's Justi Nelson (10) makes a run while being chased by Poplar BLuff's Savannah Hanner during the first half Monday, April 25, 2022, at Mules Stadium in Poplar Bluff, Mo. file

Despite facing stiff out-of-area competition, the hosting Jackson girls’ soccer team dominated play in Saturday’s Jackson Lady Indian Showcase in wins against Marquette and Helias Catholic.

The Indians played a doubleheader on Saturday, defeating Marquette, from Chesterfield, 1-0, in the opener while closing the day with a 5-1 victory against Helias Catholic out of Jefferson City.

“I saw a team that came together sooner than I expected,” Indians coach Justin McMullen said. “You know, obviously we’ve got some technical things to work on, but I thought we put together two really good, strong performances yesterday.”

Of the six goals scored across both games on Saturday, three came from freshman Rudi Klund – one against Marquette that served as the game-winning goal, and two more against Helias Catholic.

Klund adds these three goals to another two that she scored in Jackson’s season-opening victory against Kelly on Mar. 20, raising her seasonal scoring total to five through just three games.

Klund, sister of Jackson girls’ soccer alumna and Southeast Missouri State Redhawks women’s soccer player Abbey Klund, has worked her way into a critical role in the Indians’ offense as of late, which McMullen lauded but anticipated entering the season.

“Earlier in the preseason, she stood out to us and right away, and I thought she could make an impact,” McMullen said. “Her sister Abbey was a good player for us last year, so there’s a good bloodline there with the Klund family. She’s certainly somebody that has stood out, the last three games in particular.”

Senior forward Justi Nelson finished with a pair of goals herself in the Indians’ win against Helias Catholic while contributing assists on the three other goals in the game. Nelson also assisted on the lone goal from Klund in the Marquette victory, meaning Nelson set up or scored every goal in Jackson’s weekend sweep.

Junior Lauren Marchi added another goal in the Helias Catholic win, while junior Maggie James and sophomore Rilee Monighan both finished with one assist each.

Bringing in teams from all across the state may be difficult, but it’s a big step in preparing the team for a deep postseason run, especially when competing in the Class-4 top flight of MSHSAA girls’ soccer.

“Well, I think we've kind of prepped ourselves on our schedule this year,” McMullen said. “It’s our toughest schedule, especially particularly early on, since I've been coaching here. We turn around and play Parkway West [Monday], followed by a couple of games next week with Saxony and Cor Jesu Academy coming into town next Friday.

“The front end of our schedule is very difficult, which I think is definitely going to challenge us early on, but it's going to, hopefully, prepare us for another strong postseason run.”

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: