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DL plays past rebuilding expectations

There was some work to be done for the Detroit Lakes girls' soccer team, as they entered the 2010 season with a host of holes to fill after a large graduating class of 2009.

But those holes were filled as the season progressed and what was once thought of as a potential rebuilding process, turned into a contending team.

The Lakers finished with a 7-8-3 record, but played all the way to the Section 8-1A championship game, before falling to East Grand Forks.

DL took quite the exciting path to the title game, winning a pair of playoff games through shootouts, while putting together a strong team for next year.

"We had more depth this year than we have had in the past," said DL head coach Dave Carter. "I had 16 players all season and there wasn't much of a dropoff at all when I put the subs in. I had confidence in all of them when they were put out to play."

Peaking was also a key, as the Lakers did it during their playoff run, as well.

Team MVP junior goalie Courtney Gray made a name for herself in the two shootouts, saving five penalty kicks in the two playoff victories.

She also keyed several wins throughout the season, keeping the Lakers in close contests all schedule long.

"Courtney came through big all year long," Carter said. "She has a nice long punt on balls and has good length and reach on balls."

The Laker defensive front was also stout, which was led by juniors Emily Raboin and Heidi Nelson, along with attack defensive players sophomores Jill Feuillerat and Haley Foster.

"We also had some good, strong play by (junior) Lauren Sinclair and (sophomore) Beth Champa," Carter said. "Eighth grader Jade Olson also played well when she got on the field."

The midfield also had a strong season, with solid passing and a good transition game to the forwards.

The Laker midfield showed good quickness and speed, but most of all, helped control games with their passing.

"Our type of game is based on good passing," Carter said. "It's not an always up and down game for us."

Senior Libby Jordan was a leader in the midfield and score five goals and had eight assists, while junior center Ashley Friesen was able to slow the game down and find the open players with effective passing.

Junior Carly Busker and sophomore Callie Johnson also were able to exploit defenses with their cross passing, making it a smooth transition for the attackers.

"Natalie Roth was also one of our quick players, who also has a strong shot," Carter said of his midfielder.

That led into an attack which took a little time to develop.

But sophomore Emily Payne broke through as DL's leading scorer with 11 goals and four assists, while sophomore Libby Schmit was second with 11 goals and two assists.

"Emily Payne is awfully quick and I think once she gets a taste for scoring goals, she will be hard to contain," the DL coach said.

Other attackers who came out of the midfield included sophomore Tori Vogt and freshman Anya Butzer.

The play of senior Sami Kiebke also stuck out, which resulted in four goals and two assists on the season.

"Sami did a lot of work up front for us, she really hustled and worked well with Emily," Carter said.

Junior Taylor Jasken also worked well in unison with Schmit, making a good tandem for the future.

After a start which resulted in a 1-4-1 record, DL started picking up wins and confidence as the season rolled along.

"The players were focused on playing our game, which is a passing game," Carter said. "I knew we had something special here when the girls were smashing records during their three-mile runs at the start of practices (in August). I knew then they were a bunch of hard workers."

The Lakers will graduate two seniors in Jordan and Kiebke, with a host of players returning, as well as a bunch of good junior varsity players vying for spots on the varsity.

"This team just had a bunch of grit and a will to win," Carter added. "They all pulled together for a successful season."

Laker results

The 2010 results for the Detroit Lakes girls' soccer team -- Record: 7-8-3.

Team scoring stats (goals-assists-points) -- Emily Payne 11-4-26; Libby Schmit 11-2-24; Libby Jordan 5-8-18; Sami Kiebke 4-2-10; Taylor Jasken 3-0-6; Carly Busker 2-2-6; Natalie Roth 2-0-4; Courtney Gray 1-1-3; Haley Foster 1-1-3; Callie Johnson 1-1-3; Jill Feuillerat 1-0-2; Ashley Friesen 0-1-1. TEAM goals: 42.

Goalie stats (saves) -- Gray 211.

Team awards (Varsity-Junior Varsity) -- Most Improved Player: Ashley Friesen-Sydney Haman...Most Valuable Player: Courtney Gray-Katherine Foltz...Team Spirit: Libby Jordan-Alexa Anderson...Most Valuable Attacker: Libby Schmit-Halle Jordan...Most Valuable Midfielder: Libby Jordan-Jade Olson...Most Valuable Defensive Player: Emily Raboin-Beth Champa...Top Gun: Libby Schmit/Emily Payne...True Grit: Sami Kiebke.

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