The Minnewaska Area boys soccer team has had four ties this season, including 1-1 ties in its last three games. During the most-recent two games, the Lakers tied with Pelican Rapids last Saturday on the road, and also tied with Melrose Area during a game at Melrose last Tuesday.
Minnewaska Area, which is 3-1-4 overall and 0-1-1 in the Granite Ridge Conference, also played at Prinsburg CMCS, Thursday, earning a 3-0 victory. A recap of that game will be highlighted next week.
This week, Minnewaska Area is set to host St. John’s Prep, Tuesday (tomorrow) before playing at St. Cloud Cathedral, Thursday.
Waska 1, Pelican Rapids 1
The Minnewaska Lakers traveled to Pelican Rapids last Saturday to take on the Vikings, earning a 1-1 tie.
“We knew Pelican Rapids would want to play possession-based attacking soccer, so we looked to press them aggressively in their half,” coach David Vinje said.
The pressure was successful as the Lakers limited the Vikings’ quality chances. Again, the midfield duo of Thomas Poegel and Lucas Curry did an excellent job of shielding the defenders, winning tackles and starting the Lakers’ attack. Defenders Lane Curry, Connor Erickson and Lucas Curry also repelled multiple waves of Viking attacks.
After a scoreless first half, the Lakers’ pressure finally paid off in the 45th minute when Jackson Holmes smashed the ball past the keeper, assisted by Ryan Greseth, to give the Lakers a 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately, as often happens in soccer, the Lakers quickly conceded a goal two minutes later as a Pelican Rapids player took the ball out of the air and beat two Lakers in the 47th minute, tying the score at 1-1.
That would be all the scoring as the two teams played to a 1-1 tie.
Waska 1, Melrose 1
The Minnewaska Lakers soccer team traveled to Melrose, Thursday, for a game played on a beautiful sunny evening. The Lakers’ play did not match the weather though, as they started the game sluggishly.
The Lakers conceded a corner kick in the second minute of the match, and with a direct strike from the corner kick, Melrose scored what’s referred to as an “Olimpico” goal – a rare goal scored directly from the corner kick.
With a 1-0 lead, the Dutchmen were invigorated, winning almost all 50/50 balls and repelling most of the Lakers’ attacks before they could develop.
The Lakers also missed a couple of their own chances and were down 1-0 at the halftime whistle. “We knew we didn’t play well in the first half. We had to find the energy, desire, and composure to ‘turn the tide’ of the game. When you concede a goal early in the game, the entire dynamic changes,” coach Vinje said. “We talked at halftime about winning the 50/50 balls, anticipating opportunities and matching their level of intensity.”
The Lakers started the second half better than the first, but struggled to connect meaningful passes. Amid this struggle, the Lakers began playing longer passes up the field. Eventually, the pressure created an opportunity when a Laker was fouled in the Lakers’ attacking third.
Midfielder Thomas Poegel stepped up to take the free kick and placed it on the head of defender Connor Erickson, who headed the ball into the goal, tying the game at 1-1 in the 52nd minute.
From this point on, the game became frantic with both teams struggling to connect on passes or find any sort of attacking rhythm or high-percentage scoring opportunities.
With five minutes to play, Laker fans boarded an emotional rollercoaster. The Lakers won a free kick roughly 25 yards from goal. Senior midfielder Connor Quelle stepped up to take the free kick, striking a beautiful ball that bent and dipped into the far corner of the goal.
Assuming they had put themselves ahead 2-1, the Lakers jubilantly celebrated, running back to their own half. Unfortunately, the celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.
The Dutchmen quickly restarted play, and the game would go on to end in another 1-1 tie.
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