DETROIT LAKES — Detroit Lakes (0-0-1) controlled game tempo and statistics but Alexandria (0-1-1) dueled to a one-all tie in the girls soccer season opener for the Lakers Saturday afternoon at Rotary Fields.
DL outshot the Cardinals 27-12 forcing Alexandria keeper Emma Ziegler to make 21 saves to just seven for DL’s Jordan Lundberg.
Karsen Granning scored to give Alexandria a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the game during a burst when the Cardinals dictated play. Alex control lasted 10 game minutes before the Lakers began to make adjustments and press on offense.
“The first half was a mistake with the formation; we just left too much open,” Head Coach David Carter said. “The two players that play in front of the defense, they weren’t covering enough space. We just reorganized, got so that everyone knew what their roles were.”
“We were talking more and working more together as a team because we realized we had to pick up the play and make a game of it,” Center Midfielder Halle Jordan said.
That small adjustment led to a distinct advantage in second half play where the Lakers commanded ball possession and had numerous opportunities to score.
Many of those opportunities came off the leg of three-sport Laker star Kyley Foster. Foster also had a chance to score on a first half header that was denied by Ziegler.
Foster starts on the girls basketball team and on the track team, along with having been a top 10 state diver for the swimming and diving team finishing ninth overall last season, 12th in 2014, fourth in 2012, 13th in 2011 as an eighth grader. For her senior fall season, she elected to play soccer instead.
“I knew I didn’t want to dive in college and the (swimming) season is so long it cuts into basketball and I miss the first couple of days. It was really tough leaving all the girls.”
Foster played soccer at a younger age and is working her way back into form on the front lines of the Laker offense. Her speed was noticeable Saturday allowing her a number of quality scoring chances.
“Rusty, definitely rusty,” she said. “I need to work on my ball handling a little more, but I’m hoping that will come with the season.”
While Foster was peppering Ziegler with shots, DL tied the game at 52:20 on a nice lobbed pass from Jordan to freshman Anna Payne. Jordan’s pass was on the money and found Payne all alone, who buried the goal into plenty of open net.
“I couldn’t have done it without Halle; she set me up perfectly,” Payne said. “I just knew I had to kick it because you can’t give up an opportunity like that. It was mostly Halle. I just put it in.”
Jordan was at the center of impressive play by the entire Laker team in keeping Alexandria out of the penalty area and giving keeper Lundberg less time defending as she nursed an elbow injury suffered before the game.
“Center-mid is a tough position, because you have to control the field and help out with everything,” said Jordan.
Jordan had a late chance to give DL the win on a shot that would have beat Ziegler to the left side of the net, but a Cardinal defender was there to knock the shot away at the goal line.
Laura Dahlquist shined on defense for Alexandria helping Ziegler handle the Lakers’ offensive barrage and the duo kept Alex in the game earning a tie for the visitors.
Detroit Lakes was 9-0 last season at home and have not lost in 11 straight on their home turf. The last Laker loss at home was a 4-3 decision to Bemidji Oct. 4, 2012.
“Rotary Park is a fortress; we wanted to keep that fortress here,” Carter said.
Detroit Lakes is a young club this year with five seniors and four players who were on the field Saturday who had not played soccer before, making a positive start to the year that much more impressive.
Girls Soccer, Alexandria at Detroit Lakes, Saturday, Aug. 23.
Alex: Karsen Granning 8:32;
DL: Anna Payne 52:20; Assisted by Halle Jordan.
Shots: DL 27; Alex 12
Saves: DL 7; Alex 21
Corners: DL 5, Alex 3