'We are a different team:' Detroit Lakes advances in 8-2A girls soccer playoffs with 1-0 win over Flyers
Haydon King's goal in the 27th minute was enough to punch the Detroit Lakes girls soccer team's ticket tot he Section 8-2A semifinals. The fifth-seeded Lakers knocked off fourth-seeded Little Falls, setting up a semifinal rematch against top-seeded Alexandria.
LITTLE FALLS – Sports have a funny way of giving people some deja vu.
The Detroit Lakes girls soccer team is set to take on top-seeded Alexandria on Saturday in the Section 8-2A semifinals after pulling off a first-round upset over a higher-ranked opponent. The Lakers were in the same scenario a year earlier.
On Tuesday, fifth-seeded Detroit Lakes (7-10-0) beat fourth-seeded Little Falls (8-8-1) 1-0 on Haydon King’s goal in the 27th minute.
“Abby (Larson) and Haydon had breakaways the whole game,” Detroit Lakes head coach Ben Aastuen said. “Little Falls has a great keeper, and she was saving a lot of stuff. Abby got one to squeak underneath the goalie’s left side. Haydon ran in and finished it off. I think it was sitting on the line there, and Haydon just kicked it over.”
One goal was the difference this year, as it would’ve been a year ago in the quarterfinals. In 2021, the fifth-seeded Lakers knocked off fourth-seeded St. Cloud Tech in the opening round with a penalty kick shootout win.
This time, the Lakers didn’t need the extra 10 minutes and placed kicks to punch their ticket to Alexandria.
“Honestly, I got nervous at the end of the game, but they didn’t,” Aastuen said. “It was so cool to watch them at the end of the game where we’ve gotten a little scattered in the past. They continued to control the ball and make good decisions. I don’t think there was a moment in the preparation or during the game that they didn’t have this. We always knew we had it.”
However, this year’s first-round win will certainly turn more heads. The Flyers, who are the defending section runners-up, opened the season with a 7-0 win over the Lakers at the Rotary Soccer Complex on Aug. 25. Tuesday showed just how much teams could evolve throughout a couple of months.
“We are a new team,” Aastuen said. Those first four games were not this team. This is a new team. We gave up so many goals in those first four games, and we just don’t do that anymore. We let up 26 goals in those first four games. In the last 13 games, we’ve allowed just 22 goals. We gave up more in the first four games than we did the rest of the season.”
Detroit Lakes’ defenders worked hard to earn their fifth clean sheet of the season.
“The defense worked on defending (Little Falls’) through ball in practice all day yesterday,” Aastuen said. “Stella Rhodes, Clara Lundmark, Ivy Geffre and Olivia Theesfeld knocked it out of the park. That was a big issue the first time we played Little Falls. You can’t give them an open pass. You saw Clara on their backs. You saw Ivy on that back of their players in the middle of the field. They didn’t give them time, and they did fantastically.”
Last Saturday, the Lakers lost a key starter in the regular-season finale against Moorhead. Tuesday was a chance for more than one player to step up.
“At the end of the day, this was our best game,” Aastuen said. “Everything just came together. Maren (Skadsem) and Kaydence (Swiers) were on point, but one girl I want to shout out is Morgan Kvebak. Last Saturday. We lost Addi Lowell to a broken collarbone. I told Morgan she was stepping into that position, and she knocked it out of the park. Her passing, and the team passing as a whole, was brilliant. There weren’t many times when we weren’t on the ball.”
Last fall, Alexandria nipped Detroit Lakes 2-0 at home before winning the Section 8-2A title. Almost exactly a year after their season ended on a chilly Saturday afternoon, the Lakers are taking their nothing-to-lose attitude on the road again in search of another upset.”
“Just go out and be Lakers–that’s all I kept thinking about today,” Aastuen said. “That’s all it is. Just be a Laker. Who cares what a team thinks of us or how a game should go? It’s a cool attitude to have to just go out there and not care about what you think. We’re going to go out there, compete and do us.”