Published Jun 21, 2024

Written by:  Jenny Ellis




Mankato, MN – As the Northern Conference approaches the final weeks of regular season play, Mankato United Soccer Club hosted Joy AC in a close match on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, at 7:00 PM CDT at the Bethany Lutheran Soccer Stadium. 

This match marks the first of two essential games for both teams this week as Mankato United aims to secure its position in the standings and Joy AC looks to finish the season on a positive note.

After 90 minutes of play, Joy not only held off its opponents and limited Mankato’s opportunity to score only two goals, but it too finished an opportunity – ending the game in a tight final scoreline of 2-1.

Mankato struck first early in the match when Joy AC was beaten inside its own box with a three player combination which led to a goal line scoring opportunity for Ella Huettl, assisted by Mia Deprenger, in the 7’ minute of play. 

Joy was responseless to this Mankato 1-0 lead and soon after the game dropped into a steady rhythm with both teams evenly possessing and moving the ball around. 

This was until late in the first half when Jadyn Chee solidified Mankato’s lead in the 40’ minute. Assisted by Lucy Weninger off of a through ball played behind Joy’s defensive line, Chee struck the ball into the side netting past Joy’s keeper, Natalie Humbert, and made  the score a strong 2-0. 

Despite this difficult scoreline to rebound from, Joy did not quit in its fight throughout the second half and was rewarded for its perseverance in the dying minutes of the game when Ashley Bennett found the back of the net in the 85’ minute of play.

After receiving a pass from Ella Bryant at the top of Mankato’s box, Bennett found enough space between defenders to drive the ball low across the net, knocking it into the far corner, and out of the reach of Mankato’s keeper, Clare Longueville.

This goal finished off the match to make it a final score of 2-1. This scoreline marks a vast improvement for Joy AC, which lost to Mankato United Soccer Club 6-1 late in its season last year. 

With this improvement by Joy and victory for Mankato, both teams should be satisfied with their respective performances and leave the field with confidence going into their next games here in Week 7 of the Northern Conference.

Mankato United currently sits in fourth place in the conference after winning three of its five matches this season – with two losses. Its solid performance thus far puts it in a strong position as the conference approaches the postseason. 

At the other end of the conference, Joy AC finds itself in ninth place, with a draw and four losses in its five matches. Despite the challenging season, Joy AC remains focused on its mission of fostering a fun and healthy environment for its players.

Speaking ahead of the season, Joy AC’s Head Coach Brian Kallman emphasized the team’s unique, ‘fun’ philosophy. 

"Our approach has kind of been how it always is. I told the ladies that I want joy to be a place where they can play as much as they want to keep fit for the offseason,” Kallman said. “Even though we have players that play on so many different teams, I'm not there to coach them and say ‘this is how we're going to play’. They hear that the rest of their year. We play and we have fun." 

This team culture has been clear in Joy’s season thus far – with Joy AC prioritizing player development and team bonding over match results.

Where some might see a less than ideal position in the conference, this group still finds success in preparing its players for their respective college seasons in the Fall.

Although winning is not at the forefront of Joy’s mind, the team continues to strive toward improving its results one game at a time and season by season. This was apparent in the final scoreline in its game against Mankato. 


Joy AC will continue its time on the road to face Manitou F.C. on Saturday, June 22nd at 7:00 PM CDT at the White Bear Lake North Campus. 

Mankato United will face a tough challenge against the conference leaders Sioux Falls City FC on Sunday, June 23rd at 6:00 PM CDT at Bob Young Field.

All of these games and more will be livestreamed or recorded and available to watch on WPSL TV