Girls Soccer: A loss and big win key DL’s season
There were two key moments in the Detroit Lakes girls’ soccer team’s season, which helped propel them to an 11-3-2 regular season record and a No. 2 seed in the upcoming Section 8-1A playoffs.
The Lakers will host Hillcrest Thursday for a 4:30 p.m. start as they begin their playoff quest.
DL has already beat Hillcrest twice this season, by a combined score of 13-0.
But the focal points in the Lakers’ 2013 season came on different ends of the spectrum.
The first was DL’s season opener, where they lost to Alexandria 5-0.
“It was an eye-opener for us,” said DL senior captain Anya Butzer. “We started out playing in the wrong positions, but once we figured that out, we played a lot better.”
After their loss in Alexandria, the Lakers went on an undefeated spree, going 7-0-1 in their next eight games, with the lone speck being a tie in East Grand Forks.
Which brings up the second key component to the season.
Playing with the traditional powerhouse East Grand Forks and tying them on their smaller field was a coup for the Lakers, and set up their biggest win in several years, when they toppled the Green Wave 4-2 a couple of weeks later at the DL Rotary Soccer Complex.
That win catapulted DL to a Lakes to Prairie Conference championship and snapped EGF’s six-year hold on the title.
“When we were able to tie up in East Grand Forks, that was big,” Butzer said. “Then when we got them on our field, which is wider and bigger and suits our game better, that was just a huge win, it set the tone for the rest of the season.”
The victory also helped DL earn the No. 2 seed in the North, behind Alexandria, which is crucial, since if each of the Lakers and Green Wave win, they will meet on DL’s turf this coming Saturday.
The Lakers are tough at home and are a perfect 7-0 at the Rotary Soccer Complex.
“Gaining the No. 2 seed is nice, because everyone has to come to us in the first two rounds and we play well on our field,” said DL head coach Dave Carter. “It’s also nice we don’t have to play in East Grand Forks, because that is usually pretty awful for us on their much smaller field, which suits their game perfectly.”
The Lakers became very offensive after their 5-0 season-opening loss, and went on to outscore their opponents by a combined 57-11, with senior goalie Kathryn Foltz recording a whopping six shutouts.
One breakout scorer was senior Natalie Roth, who moved from her usual midfield position up to attacker.
The transition was smooth for the hard-shooting Roth, but it still took some getting used to, which resulted in 16 goals on the season and four hat tricks.
“I owe it all to my team because they found me a lot with good passing and making the through balls,” Roth said. “At first going from midfield to forward was weird, but I eventually found myself liking it.”
Chemistry is the main ingredient to DL’s success, making them one of the more well-rounded Laker teams in quite some time.
Defensively, speed has been a strength, with juniors Addie Kay Johnson and Lindsey Heinecke patrolling the backfield.
“Our team has great team chemistry and that’s why we do well,” Johnson said. “We have good communication on the field and know where each other will be. Kat (Foltz) also has been awesome.”
The depth of the Lakers is being tested to start the playoffs, with several normal starters nursing injuries, but Carter believes if his team can focus, they will reach their preseason goal of being the first DL squad to make the state tournament.
“Our keys are possession and good passing,” Carter said. “But we’ll need to take it one game at a time and not get ahead of ourselves.”