St. Thomas beats Chatham, 3-1, on Johnson's three goal performance
By Rob J. Ross
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
ST. THOMAS, Ont. - No doubt about it, Nikki Johnson has been scorching teams on the pitch.
Johnson leads the premier division of the London and Area Women’s Soccer League (LAWSL), with 21 goals. That is eight more goals than Shae-Lynn Van Gassen, who sits second in goal scoring and her team, the German Canadians, have played four more games.
Johnson has scored about 60 per cent of the St. Thomas offence, third best in the league with 34 goals.
The St. Thomas forward buried three balls in to the mesh against the Chatham Eagles, as St. Thomas erased a 1-0 deficit at half, to win their 10th game of the season, 3-1. Kennedy Boersma opened the scoring.
“Nikki’s scoring has definitely stood out,” St. Thomas coach Jenn Maxwell said.
Two of Johnson's goals had her aggressive on the ball. After scoring the equalizer, Johnson beat the Chatham keeper to the ball, both colliding and falling to the ground. Johnson jumped up and with the keeper scrambling, put the ball in the net. On her third goal, Johnson pushed through the defence, before cutting right and delivering the ball under a diving keeper.
Along with Johnson’s goal prowess, it is team chemistry that has given St. Thomas another strong season, sitting third in the premier division, with 10 wins and four losses.
“We’re a team. That’s what stands out. They’re (players) all very flexible and have each other’s backs. Everybody plays and appreciates everybody’s strengths and weaknesses,” Maxwell said. “That’s the way this group has been for awhile. They play so well together and very supportive of each other.”
That’s key as the team has endured through a number of injuries.
“We had to move everybody around. Everybody plays all around so we’ve been ready for that,” said Maxwell. “We play with a lot of grit.”
Presely Gruener filled in at keeper versus Chatham.
Maxwell coached several of the players throughout the years, starting when they nine years old.
Disappointing for St. Thomas is the City Cup schedule being cancelled this year, following an in-division protest and delay sorting the matter.
St. Thomas won the Cup in
2016 and had advanced to this year’s semi-finals.