Lakers defeat Fergus Falls to advance to section quarters

Maddy Bowers battles Fergus Falls' Haley Kugler (23) and Maddie Hulter (16) in the midfield during Tuesday night's playoff game. Bowers scored both Laker goals to lead her team to the quarterfinals. Robert Williams / Tribune

Co-captain Maddy Bowers scored both Detroit Lakes goals in a 2-1 Section 8A girls soccer playoff victory over Fergus Falls Tuesday, Oct. 13 at Rotary Soccer Park.

While Bowers was leading the attack offensively, it was the back row of DL’s defense Annie Paulson, Sasha Sekundiak, Kylie Swiers and co-captain Sophie Gunderson that did an excellent job keeping the Otters away from keeper Sarah Tangen most of the game. All four players helped create offense while defending, including the first goal in the 26th minute.

Sekundiak sent a long, accurate pass to spring Bowers from midfield and Bowers beat had little difficulty with plenty of net to beat Otter keeper Brynn Walter.

“We had a majority of the possession and a majority of the shooting opportunities; (we were) very dominant," DL head coach Ben Aastuen said. "Aside from the one goal, Fergus didn’t have many scoring opportunities thanks to our incredible defense that has been doing it all year.”


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DL's Annie Paulson (14) and Sasha Sekundiak (12) were vital to the Lakers' success Tuesday night keeping the defensive end clear and creating offensive opportunities. Robert Williams / Tribune

Walter, a freshman, was playing in only her fourth career game after taking over when Fergus’ starting keeper was injured.

DL’s first tally came two minutes after a great chance for Kate Stearns that did not produce a goal. Bowers and Stearns were behind the Otter defenders alone on Walter, who challenged, forcing Stearns’ shot to miss just left. Walter snuffed out an earlier Stearns breakaway getting to the ball first and forcing Stearns to leap over the keeper to avoid a collision.

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The Lakers celebrate Maddy Bowers' first goal of the game in a contest DL never trailed in to advance in section play. Robert Williams / Tribune

An immediate corner kick from Alex Bettcher to Abby Larson and Stearns was corralled by Walter to keep DL off the scoreboard. Walter was busy all game long stopping 16 DL shots on goal.

Bettcher hit the crossbar late in the half and Larson had a last shot just before the horn but DL went to halftime up only one goal after controlling play nearly the entire half.

Tough luck for Stearns continued on the first good chance of the second half when a Bettcher cross was headed by Stearns close to the post but wide. Bowers was fouled outside the box near the end line setting up the Bettcher cross from in tight.


Detroit Lakes pressured consistently for the first 10 minutes of the half but all shots were makeable saves for Walter who was in position against DL’s attack.

The Otters got an offensive chance in the 53rd minute on a kick from midfield that got loose in the DL box but was controlled eventually by DL keeper Sarah Tangen. The first Otter corner of the night followed thereafter and was cleared quickly by Tangen.

The game-winner came off a Bettcher corner kick that was initially played by an Otter defender in a mess of players at the goal mouth.

Sometimes the ball just finds players that know how to score and out of the melee for possession between four Lakers and eight Otters the ball got to Bowers.

Maddy was just left of Walters and put the ball between the legs of Ellie Anderson and just right of Jenna Carlson trying to aid their keeper in net but Bowers’ shot was good with 22 minutes to play with a two-goal advantage.

Fergus Falls gave Laker fans a dose of late-game angst when sophomore Megan Tosset scored off a cross from Piper Andrews with less than two minutes left on the clock.

The Otters had a pair of late throw-ins and created a second corner kick but Anderson’s cross was cleared by Bowers and Stearns booted the ball across midfield to hold on for victory.

DL will face Alexandria in the quarterfinals.


“We’ve got a little bit of work to do to be ready for Thursday,” said Aastuen.

No. 2 Alexandria defeated Pelican Rapids 10-0 on home turf to advance. The Cardinals (7-1-3) and Lakers (9-1-1) play at Alexandria Area high school on Thursday at 7 p.m.

No. 1 East Grand Forks hosts No. 4 Bemidji in the other quarterfinal in the north half of the bracket.

The top four seeds advance in the south side. No. 1 Sartell-St. Stephen faces No. 4 Sauk Rapids-Rice. No. 2 St. Cloud Cathedral will play No. 3 Little Falls.

Robert Williams has been a sports editor for Forum Communications in Perham and Detroit Lakes since 2011.
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