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Talented West Ottertail United shuts out Lakers

Laker senior Bryant Windels (7) chases after the ball defended by Donny Franco in a loss to West Ottertail United Thursday night in Detroit Lakes. Photos by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

DETROIT LAKES — The Laker boys soccer team fell to 1-3 after a 5-0 defeat to a talented West Ottertail United Storm club (3-1), led on offense by junior Kjetil Nielsen with a hat trick Thursday evening at Rotary Fields.

United is a co-op between Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Pelican Rapids High School, and Underwood High School.

The Storm took command early and maintained ball possession in the offensive zone consistently. Nielsen scored his first goal in the 13th minute for a 1-0 lead.

“His play and the overall team I was really pleased with the development of our offense,” United Head Coach Rod Jensen said. “We were patient in the midfield moving the ball back and forth, not just in one direction drawing the defense out and creating those opportunities for our strikers.”

“We just started too light in the first half,” DL Head Coach Justin Wegleitner said. We didn’t come out with the effort we needed to compete.”

Danny Franco made it 2-0 United in the 18th minute beating Connor Johnson who had a busy night in goal making 14 saves on 19 shots.

“He (Johnson) played very well in the right position but we were right on him,” Jensen said.

Nielsen scored for the second time in the 30th minute to push the lead to three-nil.

United had an advantage in corners 5-2 and United’s ball possession held DL to one shot on goal, despite improved play in the second half.

“I thought we turned it around in the second half,” said Wegleitner. “We created some opportunities and started getting more time in their end. We’re a young team and we have to learn how to keep the pace for 80 minutes. If we do that, that score is a lot different.”

At 58:45, Nielsen dribbled into the penalty box and fired a shot to the right of Johnson that the DL keeper got a piece of but the ball caromed into the side of the net for a 4-0 lead.

Jonas Kvam scored on a penalty kick late in the game to score United’s fifth goal and also to end a night of frustration as Kvam had numerous open opportunities to score including two near misses in the first five minutes of the second half.

The Lakers have 18 hours to rest up before facing Crookston (1-0) at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. The Pirates defeated Fergus Falls in their only game, as did the Lakers in their opener by a score of 2-0.

“We’ve got to rest and recover,” Wegleitner said. “We need to take care of ourselves tonight and be ready to go in the morning. It’s still early. We’ve only played four games. We have to keep improving, keep playing strong and keep getting better. That’s going to be the point tomorrow - just keep improving.”

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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