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Boys Soccer: Lakers win defensive battle over Bemidji

Laker junior Johnathan Hallisey (10) moves outside around a Bemidji defender during Tuesday’s game at Rotart Fields. BRIAN BASHAM/DL NEWSPAPERS

A midfield possession game tilted the Detroit Lakes boys’ soccer team’s way, as they converted almost half their shots on net to overtake Bemidji 3-1 at the Rotary Soccer Complex Tuesday evening.

The defensive battle resulted in just 10 shots on goal combined for both teams, but the Lakers had more accuracy, hitting the net three times out of seven shots.

Bemidji was limited to just three shots on net, as DL goalie Connor Johnson saved two.

The win raises the Lakers’ record to 2-1, after they suffered a 2-1 loss to Fergus Falls at home Saturday.

“Anytime you play Alexandria, Fergus Falls and Bemidji and come out above .500, that’s great,” said DL head coach Justin Wegleitner. “The defense is getting better, but we still have a few points to work through, yet.

“The midfield is starting to realize when to slow it down and look to the outside. But the team has plenty room to grow.”

The Lakers broke a 1-1 tie against the Lumberjacks with 12 minutes remaining in regulation, after a Brady Crawford throw-in from the sidelines.

Mark Shipman took the toss and found Ben Thompson, who made a nice pass back to Crawford, who was cutting into the penalty area. Crawford’s shot found nylon to give the Lakers the 2-1 advantage.

“It was a great feeling to take the edge, which helped build confidence and momentum for the boys,” Wegleitner said.

The game was sealed and delivered into the win column after Thompson curled his free kick around the defensive wall to put DL firmly in control 3-1 with just three minutes left in the game.

The Lakers struck first in the opening half, as Johnathan Hallisey broke free in the Bemidji zone and put his shot over the keeper.

The Lumberjacks tied the game 1-1 on a direct free kick, which Johnson bobbled and allowed in.

“Connor was disappointed he let in a soft goal, but he rebounded and made some quality saves the rest of the match,” Wegleitner said. “The defense also did a fine job keeping the Bemidji attack at bay.”

The win was a positive for section and conference rankings, while another big contest looms Thursday when DL travels to Hillcrest, before traveling to Crookston Saturday.

“Hillcrest always has a tough, hard attack and good control play,” the DL coach said. “The key is for our midfield to control the ball and our defense to be smart.”

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