The best thing I saw last week: Holy moly what a goalie

The following is an opinion column written by a Forum New Service editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of this publication.

1 Elle BEttcher AD7C4495.JPG
Elle Bettcher prepares for a shot in the penalty kick shootout in Detroit Lakes' 1-0 win over St. Cloud Tech on Oct. 13, 2021 in the Section 8AA quarterfinal round. (Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

When I came up with the idea for this column series a couple of weeks ago, I was kind of winging it and banking on myself being able to figure it out in time.

Last week I wrote about a Little Falls cross country runner in Keaton Marrow at the Perham invite. While I would like for a feel-good story to fall in my lap like that once a week, I’m not that lucky. Sometimes feel-good stories deserve more than just my off-hand thoughts in a column, like the story coming next Sunday about a Perham cross country runner battling cancer.

This job allows me to see and appreciate cool things in sports at the local level. Sometimes, those cool things often get left out of the actual story I write because it doesn’t fit. An excellent example of this is what I saw out of Detroit Lakes sophomore Elle Bettcher.

Bettcher is the goalkeeper for the Detroit Lakes girls soccer team, and she had one heck of a run in the Section 8AA playoffs last week. Before I go any further, her play between the pipes wouldn’t be possible without great teammates in front of her, and she’d be the first to say it. But last week, I saw her rise to the occasion multiple times to give her team chance after chance, which led to a special night at St. Cloud Tech High School.

The Lakers were the fifth seed in the bracket and were challenged with knocking off one of the preseason favorites. The Tigers had chances throughout the 80 regulation minutes and the 20 minutes of overtime. With the score tied 0-0, the Lakers pulled out a victory in penalty kicks.


What Bettcher did in the penalty kick shootout was impressive in its own right, but what blew me away was her ability to come up in the clutch time after time when the Tigers threatened in regulation and overtime. Both teams had their chance’s throughout the night, but Bettcher made two massive saves at the end of regulation to ensure her team had a chance.

The Lakers’ playoff run ended a few days later in the 8AA semifinal at Alexandria. The Cardinals were the top seed and had beaten every team in the section.

I came here from Alexandria and have worked with their head coach, Tom Roos, for a couple of seasons. It was the first time I had heard him be that complimentary of an opposing player. Bettcher stood on her head again to give her team a fighting chance against the best 8AA has to offer.

I love a story about a good goalie. In high school, I played goalie for my hockey team. I’ll have a feature story on Evan Thomas, the boys soccer goalie who also kicks for the football team in the near future. I’m sure you’ll see enough of the Detroit Lakes boys and girls hockey goalies from me by the time the winter sports season ends.

There is no other position in sports that has the impact a goalie has on a game. They are the last line of defense. Their mistakes show up on a scoreboard every single time where others’ might not. It’s hard to win in the playoffs without your goalie playing its best game, and that’s what the Lakers got.

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.
What To Read Next
Get Local