Girls soccer: First-half goal lifts Cardinals over Lakers in Section 8-2A semifinals

The Detroit Lakes girls soccer team suffered a narrow loss in the

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Detroit Lakes'Elle Bettcher, left, and Ivy Geffre work to clear the ball from in front of the net half of the Lakers' 1-0 loss against Alexandria on Oct. 15, 2022 at Alexandria Area High School.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

ALEXANDRIA – The Detroit Lakes girls soccer season will be remembered as one filled with week-to-week improvements.

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Detroit Lakes' Haydon King controls the ball first half of the Lakers' 1-0 loss against Alexandria on Oct. 15, 2022 at Alexandria Area High School.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Top-seeded Alexandria hung on to beat the Lakers 1-0 on Saturday at Alexandria Area High School in the second round of the Section 8-2A tournament. Even in a game that marked the end of the season, Detroit Lakes exemplified the strides taken in just a few months.

In the second game of the 2022 season, the Lakers fell to the Cardinals 8-0 on the road. This time, Allie Haabala’s goal in the 38th minute was the lone tally.

“We had two players we were looking at–Nos. 15 and 22,” Detroit Lakes head coach Ben Aastuen said. “They combined for 33 goals and 16 assists. We came in here wanting to shut them down, and we did. When you shut them down, and the rest of the team pressures everybody else, you can limit them in a lot of ways. I’m proud of them.”

The aforementioned scoring threats, Ella Westlund and Sophia Korynta, had their chances, including two shots that rang off the crossbar in the opening 40 minutes. Yet, Haabala, a sophomore, buried a pass from Avery Sinning to break the scoreless tie.


“Because we were focusing on (Westlund and Korynta), other girls had more opportunities to beat us,” Aastuen said. “We had a fluke there where we had marked up that back side, and they got one on us. I’ve told the girls that if they play 79 minutes of a perfect game and we lapse for one minute, that could happen. It’s kind of what happened today. We missed one player for a second and paid for it.”

Detroit Lakes turned into the aggressor in the second half. In the final 10 minutes, the Lakers pushed the Alexandria defenders as far as they could.

“We pressed up another player to try to get a goal,” Aastuen said. “We take our opportunities when we can. Once you get to that 18-yard box, Alexandria is so sound defensively. I don’t think their keeper really had to do a whole lot.”

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Detroit Lakes' Baylee Branden chases after the ball in the first half of the Lakers' 1-0 loss against Alexandria on Oct. 15, 2022 at Alexandria Area High School.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

“Elle Bettcher mentioned it before the game. It doesn’t matter if we’re down one goal, five or 50. We’re going to play,” Aastuen said. “We don’t give a rip about what people think of us. We’re going to play 80 minutes every time.”

The Lakers were left searching for the tying goal after the final whistle. Detroit Lakes fell to Alexandria for the second consecutive fall as the fifth seed in the section playoffs.

Aastuen was impressed with the way his team showed a knack for bouncing back all season. After allowing 26 goals in the first four games, the Lakers found ways to play better on both ends of the pitch. He believes the program is headed in the right direction even after a gutting loss.

“Our program is solid,” Aastuen said. “(Madyson Webber) just got voted Section 8-2A Assistant Coach of the Year. (Jessica Pudwill) got it last year. They’re so good, and their commitment to these players, and these players’ commitment to their work, is unparalleled. You see it in the second time we play teams. We lost to Alexandria 8-0 the first time. Today was 1-0. We lost to Little Falls 7-0 before we beat them 1-0 to get here. The kids work so hard, and this program is strong because of it.”

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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