A major goal was reached for the Detroit Lakes boys’ soccer team, as they earned the No. 2 seed in the North half of the Section 8-1A playoffs, while going 7-7-1 on the season.
That sets up a first-round section playoff showdown with Fergus Falls (2-12) Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Lakers defeated the Otters in the season opener 5-0.
“This is what we wanted all year, to host a couple of playoff games,” said DL head coach Justin Wegleitner.
“Our big focus was to finish with at least a .500 record and we did that, with a couple of other games that easily could have been wins.”
The Lakers reached the .500 mark by going 3-2 in their final five games, but added a boost of confidence by playing top-seeded Hillcrest/Pelican Rapids (14-0-1) close in a 3-0 defeat in the season finale, which was the Comets’ closest game, besides their one tie with Fargo North.
Spread out scoring and strong defense were the Lakers’ components to success, as up to five different attackers made some noise in the scoring category.
“We had some nice scoring from a lot of different players,” Wegleitner said.
It was speed which keyed the Lakers’ attack, with some strong passing in the penalty area, along with a smooth transition from the midfield to the forwards.
“Speed was key and the team’s passing was good,” said senior midfield Sam Bergren.
“We improved each week on our passing and our defense was able to shut down some big time attacks.”
Experience in the net was also critical, as junior Connor Johnson had a solid year.
“With the defense improving weekly, Connor also improved,” Wegleitner said.
“He had some great saves in our matches, especially against Hillcrest.”
Johnson said the connection with the defense and midfield was valuable, but he still wants to keep improving through the playoffs.
“The pressure is still there on me, because our starting 11 is very experienced and I want to do well for them,” Johnson said.
Senior attacker Brady Crawford also sees a potential deep run for the Lakers, if they can remain focused and not have lapses.
“Our key will be just to try as hard as we can and have some accurate passing,” Crawford said. “There has been some good transition between the forwards and the midfield and our defense has been playing well.”