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Early flurry of goals downs Lakers in season finale

Boom, boom!

That's what a short-handed Detroit Lakes boys' soccer team felt in it's regular season finale after host Hillcrest pumped in two quick goals against them Thursday, which eventually led to a 3-1 defeat to the Comets.

"I think our guys forgot what the opening whistle was," said DL head coach Justin Wegleitner. "Because they were not ready for it."

The Comets -- which clinched the top seed in the North Section 8-1A side and the conference championship -- scored 40 seconds into the game and another at the 2:50 mark.

Meanwhile, the Lakers lost two players just as quick, when junior midfielder Tony Carlson and sophomore Christian Tigges each left with foot and ankle injuries.

That added to the loss of senior Cole Neumeister, who had to miss a game after gaining two yellow cards in the previous contest.

"So we were down three starters, but the guys didn't lose their cool," Wegleitner said. "They picked up the pace and played with some nice intensity."

Down 2-0 heading into the second half, the Lakers maintained pressure on the Comet net, but it was Hillcrest which scored in the 15th minute on a hard rebound shot, which goalie Ethan VanOffelen was able to get a hand on, but not stop completely.

Regardless, VanOffelen still played probably his best half of the season, Wegleitner said.

"Ethan played the best minutes in the second half than he has all year," Wegleitner added.

After being shutout in their previous two games, the Lakers were looking for at least a goal against Hillcrest, so Wegleitner switched to a 3-4-3 scheme, which brought up defenseman Marty Lanning to the attack line.

It paid off, as Lanning nailed DL's lone goal in the 23rd minute of the second half, with senior forward Sean Colbert gaining the assist.

"Marty has a nice shot on goal, so that's why we brought him up," Wegleitner said. "It was a big positive to get that goal, too, because we didn't want to go into playoffs not scoring in our final three games.

"If we could have come out strong in the first three minutes, it obviously would have been a different game."

The Lakers finish with a 7-8-1 record on the season and had to wait on this weekend's section games to be completed to find out where they stand in the upcoming Section 8-1A playoffs.

If Alexandria lost against the South's No. 1 seed Sartell Saturday, DL has the good potential to hold the No. 3 seed.

But the Lakers will not fall below the No. 4 seed and that means they will be able to host a first-round playoff game Tuesday.

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