No. 5 Detroit Lakes took 40 minutes to get its offensive engine in gear and a big second half led the Lakers to a 6-0 victory over No. 9 Pelican Rapids in the opening round of the Section 8A soccer playoffs at Rotary Soccer Park Tuesday, Oct. 8.
The Lakers got on the board quickly when the ball was misplayed by Vikings’ keeper Grace Haugrud allowing Abigail Larson to put DL up 1-0.
That’s the way the game stayed until halftime with the Lakers firing at Haugrud seemingly at will but missing the net. DL had 10 shots that were on goal in the opening 20 minutes but not a lot to show for it.
“We definitely think we’re a second half team and have tried to change that through sections and play hard through every single half,” captain Anna Jones said.
The Lakers did that by controlling the ball in the Vikings end nearly the entire first half. It was simply a matter of putting the ball in the net and getting it past Haugrud.
Pelican’s junior goalkeeper got in front of a bunch of DL shots and kept the Vikings in the game while under siege.
In the final minute of the half, Pelican Rapids got its only good scoring opportunity when Tatianna Wiley got behind the DL defenders and rifled a shot for the top right corner that sailed wide off the side of the net.
The Lakers went to the break set on making changes for success in the final 40 minutes.
“No matter what happened in the first half, we could play a different game in the second half and we were really focusing on our shots, looking at the ball when we kick and placing it,” Jones said.
The was the key to opening the floodgates as the Lakers found the net and put the game away soundly with more than 20 shots on target and five on the scoreboard.
Madison Bowers got the scoring started with a perfect setup to Jones for a back-footed redirect and a 2-0 lead on the Lakers’ first possession of the second half.
Nicole Swanson stepped into open space and curved a left-footer bending the ball off the far post to go 3-0.
Alex Bettcher scored low, far corner for DL’s fourth tally.
Gabriella Bettcher set up a melee in front of Haugrud with a pass while Jones and Larson were battling for space that freed up Grace Van Offelen for an easy fifth goal.
Jones wrapped up the scoring from 18 yards out for the 6-0 final.
The Lakers (6-10-1) advanced to face No. 4 Fergus Falls (7-9) at Otter Stadium Thursday, Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. DL has a victory over the Otters this year 3-0 at home on Sept. 21.
“We’re kind of nervous because they beat a team that we lost to by four so that’s going to be a game where we put it all out on the field,” said Jones.
The winner will move on to face East Grand Forks on the Green Wave’s pitch Saturday, Oct. 12 at noon. East Grand Forks defeated DL 4-3 at home and 1-0 at Rotary Park during the regular season. Fergus Falls lost 6-0 on the road to EGF and 3-1 at home.
After a 5-1 start to the season, the Otters have lost eight of 10 down the stretch.
Detroit Lakes is 4-4 in its last eight games and have a lengthy streak to continue. Detroit Lakes is 16-1-3 against Fergus Falls dating back to 2009 and are unbeaten against the Otters in the last 19 games (16-0-3).