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Boys' soccer loses on PK

It was a crucial call during a critical time -- and it may have cost the Detroit Lakes boys' soccer team its season.

A handball foul called during the second round of the Section 8-1A playoffs Thursday resulted in the game's lone goal, as Bemidji ended the Lakers' season 1-0.

Laker head coach Justin Wegleitner didn't agree that it was an intentional handball -- which led to a penalty kick -- by senior captain Cole Neumeister, occurring in the first half at the 28th minute.

The play in question occurred on Bemidji's second shot on the Laker net, as Neumeister was defending the goal line.

The ball deflected off of Neumeister's knee, bounced off his stomach area and proceeded to roll out of bounds.

But during the course of the ball rolling off of Neumeister's body, it glanced off his arm, for which the referee called a handball.

Since it was in the penalty area, the call resulted in a penalty kick, which the Lumberjacks converted.

"A penalty kick can only be awarded if it was an intentional handball," Wegleitner said. "It obviously wasn't intentional. It was a tough break for us."

With the score at 1-0 leading into halftime, Wegleitner rallied his troops, who came out controlling the majority of possessions in the second half, outshooting the Lumberjacks by an 8-3 margin.

The Lakers generated several strong shots on net, but none found their way to the back of the net.

"They guys were pushing the ball high and creating a lot of good opportunities," Wegleitner said. "Unfortunately, those opportunities didn't finish into a goal."

The Lakers outshot the Lumberjacks 12-7, as goalie Ethan VanOffelen had a strong game in net.

"Ethan played great," the DL coach said. "He had an awesome breakaway save and played strong."

The Lakers played a 3-4-3 scheme, to put more pressure on the Bemidji net. It was the same scheme which produced a 4-0 win in the first round over Crookston.

Senior Marty Lanning was moved from his defensive position up to forward, as he unleashed some hard shots on the Bemidji net, but none finding the ultimate destination.

"It was a great game; it was a pity to see our team go down that way, but to our guys' credit, they played through it," Wegleitner said. "I felt we outplayed Bemidji, so the guys should leave holding their heads high."

The Lakers finish the season with an 8-9-1 record.

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