DL boys’ soccer ends regular season strong
A pivotal section win over East Grand Forks last week, rolled into another victory and a solid showing against one of the tops in Section 8-1A to end the regular season for the Detroit Lakes boys’ soccer team.
The Lakers (7-7-1) have good potential to land the No. 2 seed in the North half of the section playoffs, depending on the results of this past weekend’s game.
But for DL, they handled their late-season business well by topping EGF 1-0 Sept. 26, thumping Walker/Hackensack-Akeley 12-1, then playing Hillcrest tough at Rotary Soccer Complex, before falling 3-0.
“We improved a ton the last time we played Hillcrest, in which we lost 12-0,” said DL head coach Justin Wegleitner. “They have been averaging nine goals a game and have one tie against Fargo North, with their closest game after that being a 5-0 win over St. Cloud Cathedral.
“So we knew we better do a good job pressuring on every touch, because if you let them pass the ball around in the penalty area, they’ll create some clean shots on net.”
Defense was the focus for the Lakers and for the most part, it worked out well.
The Comets had seven shots on DL goalie Connor Johnson, with five of them inside the penalty area. That keyed a 2-0 halftime lead on the Lakers.
In the second half, Hillcrest created nine shots on net, but only three in the penalty area.
“We are confident if we force more perimeter shots, Connor will save them,” Wegleitner said.
But with much energy being dispensed on the defensive side of the field, as well in the midfield, DL only generated two shots on goal.
“We had some breakaway opportunities, but they didn’t turn into quality shots,” Wegleitner said. “To make a good, deep run into the playoffs, we’ll have to produce more quality offensive opportunities.”
The Lakers had an easy time against Walker/Hackensack-Akeley Sept. 28, winning 12-1.
Attacker Bryant Windels had a hat trick in the first half, as other goals were scored by Ben Thompson, Sam Bergren, Mark Shipman, Johnathan Hallisey, Zane Freeman, Mackenzie Steele (two), Braedon Housholder and Manuel Plaza.
The Lakers’ 7-4-1 section record is vital in their good potential of securing the No. 2 seed in the North Section playoffs, which will guarantee them a home tourney game Thursday.
“We have built some confidence after beating EGF and playing Hillcrest very tough,” Wegleitner said. “Hopefully we can continue that momentum for a deep playoff run.”