DL boys' soccer drops semifinal game to SCC
Momentum, possession of the ball and shots on goal all belonged to the Detroit Lakes boys' soccer team during the Section 8-1A semifinal in St. Cloud Tuesday against top-seeded St. Cloud Cathedral.
The Lakers took some of their best shots at the Crusaders in the touch-and-go tilt, but there was only one facet of the game DL didn't control -- the scoreboard.
In the end, that's all that mattered, as the Crusaders escaped with a 1-0 victory, thus ending DL's best season ever with a 13-4-2 record.
"Shooting percentage-wise, in the first half it went in our favor and I felt we had the upper hand in the game for 60 to 70 percent of the time," said DL head coach Justin Wegleitner. "We had several great opportunities to score in the first half, but just missed out on them."
The Crusaders, who were out-shot in the game by an 11-10 margin, did hold a sizable advantage in corner kicks, and that's exactly where they cashed in their scoring opportunity.
With 17 minutes left in regulation, St. Cloud Cathedral's Joe Neisler converted a corner kick for the 1-0 lead.
DL goalie Danny Engberg tried to stop the corner try by cutting to the middle of the penalty area, as the ball glanced off of Neisler and past the Laker netminder.
The ball found its mark in the far corner of the goal, giving the home team the advantage on the scoreboard.
After taking the lead, the Crusaders dropped their star forward, Michael Colburn, back to defensive midfield, essentially overloading the Cathedral zone with six defenders.
"They really just clogged it up after the goal," Wegleitner said. "We basically had just one more decent scoring opportunity after that. St. Cloud Cathedral did a nice job of adjusting their defense after they scored."
The Lakers did, however, have some golden opportunities in the first half, outshooting the Crusaders 4-3.
The first shot came on a diving header by senior midfielder Jon Carter. The ball skimmed just off the top of the Laker's head, as the Cathedral goalie scooped it up.
"It Jon was maybe an inch higher, the ball would've went in," the DL coach said.
Midfielder Brandon Baker also had some solid cracks on goal, as did defenseman Charlie Smith -- but none found its mark.
"We were controlling and possessing the ball for much of the first half," Wegleitner said. "We went into halftime feeling pretty good about how things were shaping up."
Freshman Cody Jordan had the best game of his varsity career after helping pull the gates down on Colburn, who entered as one of the state's top scorers.
Jordan's job was to keep close tabs on Colburn and he did just that, limiting the all-star forward to just one solid shot on net.
"We didn't have anyone shadowing Colburn, just someone to keep an eye on him," Wegleitner said. "Cody did a great job shutting him down, with the help of Joe Thompson."
The Lakers survived Saturday's typhoon game against visiting Minnewaska, winning 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
After several delays due to a flooded field, DL outgunned its opponent by taking a 14-1 shots on goal margin.
Carter put the score at 1-0 on a free kick, as senior forward Victor Wilkins tallied the game-winning goal in the 65th minute on a header, after a pass by Carter.
"We controlled the majority of the game," Wegleitner said.
The season ends with this year's team collecting the most wins in DLHS history, with 13 total.