Girls soccer team still looking for first win; team returns home Sept. 8 to face South St. Paul
The Hastings girls’ soccer team dropped three matches this past week and are still looking for their first win of the season. The team traveled to Roseville on Aug. 30 where they lost 4-0. They then traveled to Duluth on an overnight trip where they played Duluth-Marshall on Thursday, Sept. 1, losing 4-1, and then played Duluth-Denfeld the next day where they lost 2-1.
Tuesday at Roseville
The first match against Roseville, the Hastings girls encountered a new variable to their game; Roseville’s turf surface on their pitch. Head coach Scott Meier said that his squad’s style of play was not suited to the fast surface, and combined with Roseville’s own fast and physical style, the Raiders were forced back on their heels at times.
Despite the score, Meier said his squad had several bright moments during the match.
“In the game we had a couple of opportunities and showed signs of being able to put together some possession,” Meier said. “We had some good chances but it just seemed like we were never able to settle into the game.”
Hastings got in trouble right off the bat against Duluth-Marshall, when within the first few minutes Marshall was able to score its first goal off a breakdown in the Raiders’ defense where they allowed a pass over the top and a quality shot. From there it was a back-and-forth battle for the rest of the first half. The Raiders also had their chances and were able to put a few shots on goal but were unable to convert.
In the second half Hastings had a four to five minute breakdown where they allowed two goals back-to-back. The fourth goal came off a defensive breakdown in the Raiders’ own third where they allowed too much dribble penetration and were slow to defend the pass which resulted in a tap-in score.
Josie Kummer scored the Raiders’ only goal, but despite the goal differential Meier said the game could have easily been tied.
“I think overall out of the 80 minutes there were about eight minutes that I would like to have back,” Meier said. “Other than that I think it’s a 1-1 game.”
The next day Hastings played Duluth-Denfeld, once again playing on turf against a Denfeld team that had speed and size. In what Meier described as the best half the Raiders have played all year, they led at halftime 1-0 after Makenzie Thompson made a penetrating pass to Sydney Swanson for the goal.
“It was a really good soccer game and I couldn’t be happier with how they played,” Meier explained. “The girls were executing the game plan and overall it was the best half of the year, so I was really pleased.”
The Raiders continued to lead for almost the whole second half, but with three minutes left disaster struck. Hastings tried to clear a ball but did not quite get all of it, allowing Denfeld to take possession. A Denfeld player attempted a pass that was deflected downfield to find an open player who tied the game with shot that ricocheted off the inside of a post and into the goal.
Right after they tied the game, Denfeld had the ball left of the Hastings’ box trying to score. A Denfeld and Hastings player were jockeying for possession when they both fell after getting their legs tangled and a penalty was called on the Raider player, resulting in a penalty kick for Denfeld. Denfeld converted the go-ahead penalty kick and that ended up being the final score, 2-1.
With what happened in the last few minutes of the game, Meier said it was emotionally draining for the players and the coaches and the outcome was disappointing. However, despite going 0-3 on the week and still searching for that elusive first win, Meier said his team was improving and he was happy with their performance.
“The girls are figuring out how to play more physical and faster,” Meier said. “Despite the losses I was pretty happy with how we played, they showed themselves well despite the scores.”
The Raiders were at Park on Tuesday and then return home on Sept. 8 against South St. Paul.