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DL posts upset win over Hillcrest

One intangible, which signifies improvement for a young and inexperienced team, is how they respond to adversity.

So mark one up for the Detroit Lakes boys' soccer team after they rebounded from an ugly performance against Bemidji Tuesday, with an impressive 1-0 upset of Hillcrest Thursday to give the Lakers a 1-2-1 record.

"Tuesday in Bemidji was one of our worst performances all season, including our practices," said DL head coach Justin Wegleitner. "It made it easy to call our players out and show we need all 11 players doing their job.

"But getting that upset win over Hillcrest was nice, because it should add some confidence and show our potential and what our abilities really are."

Both teams had to battle Mother Nature's whipping winds, which included consistent rain throughout the contest Thursday.

The inclement conditions did work in the Lakers' favor, though, as the game turned into a defensive duel.

"With our defense being our most experienced unit with Marty Lanning and Nate Friesen back, it really was beneficial it became a defensive battle," Wegleitner said.

Friesen and Lanning anchored the defense, despite Friesen playing with a bum foot.

"Nate's bruised foot was about seven different colors, but he played well," the DL coach said.

After a scoreless first half, the Lakers maintained pressure on the Hillcrest net and finally punching through, when senior forward Sean Colbert beat the Comet keeper with a shot on the right corner of the net.

The goal was set up with Colbert breaking away from the Comet defense and the goalie coming out to play the ball.

Instead, Colbert pulled up just outside the penalty area and booted it over the goalie for the 1-0 advantage.

After Colbert's tally, the Lakers maintained a strong defense, protecting freshman goalie Jason Kempenich from any high-pressured shots.

Hillcrest had a golden opportunity go by the wayside after narrowly missing a 40-yard free kick, which sailed just over the crossbar.

"We were lucky that shot was not on net," Wegleitner said.

"But overall, our defense kept their shots outside of the penalty area."

Team speed and hustle also contributed in the win, as DL won the majority of the 50-50 loose balls.

The Lakers' depth also showed, after senior captain Cole Neumeister had to miss the game due to a high ankle sprain and sophomore Christian Tigges filled in well at midfield.

"Tony Carlson also had a phenomenal game in the midfield," the DL coach said. "This win was a very positive step forward."

The Lakers had to dust themselves off after a 4-1 defeat in Bemidji Tuesday.

The Lumberjacks bolted out to a commanding 3-0 halftime lead and never looked back.

Colbert made DL's only goal on a penalty kick, with Kempenich being tagged with the loss in net.

"We lost almost all the battles on the field," Wegleitner said. "Our shots were going high or we were taking off-balanced shots, which resulted in weak shots on net."

The Lakers gained a 2-2 tie in Alexandria last Saturday, with junior forward Travis Kienitz converting a breakaway goal in the first half for a 1-0 early advantage.

Alexandria tied it up before halftime and took a 2-1 lead with a goal from the seam to start the second half.

Colbert knotted the game at 2-2 with just four minutes remaining, after sniping a Cardinal pass and hitting the nylon from the right side.

Sophomore Ethan VanOffelen was in net for the Lakers.

The Lakers played Friday against Crookston and traveled to Shanley Saturday.

DL will be back in action Tuesday in Moorhead, starting at 5 p.m.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.