The Detroit Lakes girls soccer team made a habit this season of finding open space in their opponents’ penalty area but the top seeds from the south subsection Sartell-St. Stephen limited the Laker attack in a 3-0 shutout victory at Sartell to advance to the Section 8A championship game.
Early strategy played out in the midfield before the Sabres found offensive rhythm midway through the half, while forcing the Lakers battle for ball possession and attack time. Both teams traded early corner kick opportunities with Sartell holding the advantage in shots on goal through the first 20 minutes.
The Sabres played the first half with the wind and focused their shots high on Laker keeper Payton Carlblom. Reese Kloetzer hit a rising ball that curved away from and over Carlblom into the upper left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute.
The Lakers immediately responded with their best chance of the first half when a long kick from midfield by Sophia Gunderson took a high bounce and forced Sabres keeper Emma Janu to lunge for the ball colliding hard with the left post before making the save and restarting the Sabre attack upfield.
Sartell’s offensive push gave the Sabres a distinct advantage in attack time in the Laker half of the field the rest of the way.
Jenna Eibes picked up a big goal for team momentum going high over Carlblom to score two minutes before the halftime horn.
The Lakers focused their offensive energy to the side of the field in the second half as runs through the middle were frequently outnumbered by the Sabre defenders. Sartell did an excellent job of not allowing Kerrigan Hallisey to get into scoring position all game.
Sidney Lundberg had back-to-back opportunities, including a free kick from 25 yards, but Janu and her defenders were up to the task.
Emily Larson, Anna Jones and Ava Steinmetz all had good looks at shots but were swarmed quickly by the defense in preserving the shutout.
Eibes iced the game in the 74th minute with her second goal. The shutout was the eighth this season for the 11-5-2 Sabres who will face the north subsection top seeds Bemidji (13-4-2) for a trip to state. The Lumberjacks are the defending 8A champions.
Detroit Lakes was shut out for the third time this season and finished with an overall record of 12-4-3.