Hastings boys' soccer improves to .500

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The Hastings boys' soccer team won two games following their loss to Park two weeks ago over Minnehaha Academy and St. Croix Prep. The Raiders held on against St. Croix Prep to win 2-1 and then traveled to Minnehaha Academy where they also held onto a one-goal lead to win 3-2. However, last week they played two very good teams in White Bear Lake and North St. Paul, against whom they struggled. The Raiders were blanked by a ranked White Bear Lake team 4-0 and then by North St. Paul 5-0 at home.

St. Croix Prep

Hastings was able to grab the all-important first goal against St. Croix Prep in the first half and then scored one more goal to match their opponents and win 2-1. Scoring for the Raiders was senior midfielder Josh Lewanski with two goals, assisted by junior midfielder Logan Boogren and senior forward Tyler Borst.

Head coach Jamie Swanson said that the game was called pretty tight with plenty of cards handed out and a Hastings player was sent off the field. Up 2-0, Swanson said it really tested his team to survive that adversity.

"We were just kind of in survival mode after that," he said. "We were actually able to create a few opportunities with 10 men which was promising. The younger guys on our team stepped up and did their jobs. They did play a little nervous at times and they created a few turnovers in some bad spots, but (goalkeeper) Sam Kelly rescued us a few times. The good part was, mentally they didn't break down."

Minnehaha Academy

The Raiders were able exact revenge against Minnehaha Academy after losing to them 6-1 last season. Hastings was able to score two goals in the first half to take a 2-1 lead and then held on to win 3-2. Lewanski added another goal and the other two were provided by Boogren and junior midfielder Evan Rumann, with assists coming from Lewanski, Boogren and sophomore midfielder Jakub Youngstrom.

Swanson said that the game was a tale of two halves with the game being called tight once again.

"Going into halftime were were pretty confident that as long as we kept playing the game we were playing, we would be alright," he explained. "Unfortunately that usually doesn't happen a lot. It was definitely a tale of two halves and again the referees were calling it super, super tight. In the first half there were probably four yellow cards for Minnehaha and two for us, and then in the second half I think we ended up getting another three. Our bench was already a bit short, so toward the end of the game we had three players seeing significant time with a yellow card."

Leading 2-0, he said Minnehaha was able to tie it and that it was survival mode again.

"I ended up moving Evan Rumann from his midfield spot to an outside forward for the last 10 minutes and that proved to be a good coaching move because with about seven minutes left in the game he scored the go-ahead goal."

Tough stretch

Hastings was shutout consecutively by eighth-ranked White Bear Lake and then perennial Metro East Conference-leader North St. Paul, both at home. Against White Bear Lake, the Raiders had their chances as they managed 11 shots on goal but were unable to break through. The same struggles carried over against the Polars, but that two-game stretch is most likely the toughest Hastings will face all season.

They traveled to South St. Paul on Tuesday, Sept. 12, and then go to St. Thomas Academy on Thursday, Sept. 14.