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Dry spell washes over Hastings offense

Goals have been hard to come by for the Hastings boys soccer team so far this season. It's probably no surprise, then, that wins have been hard to come by, too.

Hastings has scored five goals on the season, and the Raiders are now 1-5. Three of those goals came in the team's 3-0 win over Winona Cotter back on Aug. 24. Since then, in four losses, Hastings has just one goal. They've allowed 22.

That doesn't mean, though, that coach Shane Lanning is hitting the panic button. He knows the Raiders have faced some very good teams in that stretch of play.

"Even though there's been a lot of goals scored against us, we've played good teams," he said. "There aren't any cupcake teams. The goal count doesn't indicate it, but our defense is really starting to come around."

On Aug. 29, Hastings lost to Mahtomedi, 6-1.

The Hastings goal was scored by Tristan Nelson on a penalty kick.

Hastings then lost to Richfield on Sept. 3, 8-0. They lost to Mounds View on Sept. 4, 4-0, and they lost to Henry Sibley on Sept. 7, 4-0.

Even with those lopsided scores, Hastings isn't throwing in the towel, Lanning said.

"I've had 100 percent attendance," he said. "There's no downward spiral. They show up and day after day give me an honest effort. After the games, nobody is hanging their heads. They understand the competition they are playing against are high caliber teams. Nobody is getting frustrated with one another.

"It says a lot when you're not having success, and you're having these lopsided losses, and they're still giving you the effort. That says a lot about them."

Defensively, Hastings has emphasized an offside trap in recent games, Lanning said.

"That's minimized some of the attacking -- the balls that are getting through are these long breakaways," he said.

Against Mounds View, Lanning estimated the Mustangs were whistled for offside about a dozen times. Same thing with Henry Sibley.

"They're definitely getting better at being more disciplined on defense and minimizing the amount of space they have to cover," Lanning said. "The goal totals do not indicate it, but we've been doing really well and are making progress on the defensive side."

Lanning said that the past two games have been good ones for goalkeeper Danny Steiner.

"In the game against Mounds View, he saved somewhere between 20 or 22 shots," Lanning said.

Against Sibley, he faced more than a dozen shots, Lanning said.

"He's starting to go very well," he said. "He's figuring out his angles and he's really been keeping us in the games. That Mounds View game in particular, if he didn't step up and have a fantastic game, that would have been a lot worse than 4-0."