It may have taken half the game to get their legs underneath them, but the motivation of advancing in the Section 8-1A playoffs was much too intense for the Detroit Lakes boys’ soccer team, which picked up the pace in the second half of its 3-0 victory over visiting Fergus Falls Thursday.
After outshooting the No. 7 Fergus Falls (2-13) team by a 4-1 margin in the first half, the No. 2 Lakers (8-7-1) poured in the goals to advance to the quarterfinals.
“We were putting pressure on the goal line throughout the first half, and the one big discouraging thing was that we had nine corner kicks and didn’t get any goals,” said DL head coach Justin Wegleitner. “At halftime, we discussed tying the midfield and defense with the attack.”
The advice was heeded early, as senior midfielder Ben Thompson took a pass from junior attacker Johnathan Hallisey and made a strong left-footed shot on goal for the 1-0 advantage.
From there, the Lakers held the majority of the possession time in the Otter zone, up to the 60th minute, where Fergus Falls was able to control the ball and make some solid opportunities on net.
But junior goalie Connor Johnson stopped all four shots, as junior midfielder Braedon Housholder turned the tide of momentum with a goal soon after the 70th minute for the 2-0 margin.
Senior defenseman Ben Nelson found senior attacker Brady Crawford in the 76th minute to put the game out of reach.
“In the first half, we had too many guys going on the forward run and left too many spaces in the midfield,” Wegleitner said. “That allowed Fergus Falls to push the ball up the field more easily. But in the second half, our guys played more disciplined and stayed home.”
The Lakers outshot the Otters 6-4, with all of the Otters’ shots coming in that 10-minute window in the second half.
“The defense played well, but we had a few mistakes we’ll need to clean up,” Wegleitner said. “Connor had some nice saves to help keep their scoring down.”
The Lakers faced No. 3 seed Bemidji Saturday, with the winner playing Tuesday against the victor between No. 1 Sartell and No. 4 Little Falls.