Girls soccer: One last shot for Riders' seniors

As seventh-graders, Rachel Dallman and Marie Meagher made the Grand Forks Red River girls soccer team and the Roughriders went on to win the state championship.

As seventh-graders, Rachel Dallman and Marie Meagher made the Grand Forks Red River girls soccer team and the Roughriders went on to win the state championship.

Through the next four years, the pair of standout athletes found out how difficult that task is to accomplish.

The Roughriders, who went 4-0 en route to their 2004 title, have since earned just two wins at the state tournament. They took fourth in 2005 and failed to qualify for state in 2006 and 2007. Last year, Red River went two-and-out.

Now, Dallman and Meagher have one last shot at the state tournament. Red River will head to Fargo as the No. 3 seed from the East with a 6-2-4 record. The Roughriders play West No. 2 seed Bismarck Century (5-3-2) at 6 p.m. today at the Pepsi Complex.

"It's tough to say what's going to happen," Red River coach Paulo Perez said. "We don't know much about the Western teams. Last season, we used to play East-West crossovers, but with the scheduling, we didn't have a chance to play a Western team this year. It is kind of uncertain what is going to happen."


One thing the Roughriders can be certain about is their veteran players.

Dallman and Meagher, who both play center midfield, are state tournament veterans.

"It will definitely help that they've been there," Perez said. "They started playing in seventh grade and now they are seniors; they've been there before and they know what it takes to win it all."

Although they play the same position, Meagher is more of a defensive-minded player, Perez says. The 2009 East Region player of the year previously was a defender.

"Marie's biggest strength is that she never loses a ball. If there's a ball close, she wants to get it and she usually does. She's a pretty smart player, too. She knows how to attack and how to make others pay," Perez said.

Dallman, who made the all-state tournament team as a seventh-grader, has been one of the top offensive threats in the East for years.

"What I like about Rachel is that she really controls the pace of the game," Perez said. "When we need to go faster, she'll go faster. When we need to control the ball, she does it."

The Roughriders have five main offensive threats.


Three of them are juniors -- Alexa Bateman (seven goals, two assists), Anne Marhula (six goals, three assists) and Sasha Yearwood (four goals, three assists). Dallman (three goals, one assist) and Meagher (seven goals, three assists) are the veterans.

The duo of standouts have been playing varsity for so long that they've went through three varsity head coaches. Craig Holbrook was the head coach for their first three seasons. Will Olson coached in 2007 before moving out of town and Perez took over last season.

"They've been going to state tournaments long before I was the coach," Perez said.

Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to .

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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