Hastings girls' soccer continues ups and downs

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The Hastings girls' soccer team lost four matches in a row including two losses this past week to Hill-Murray and St. Paul Central. With the losses, the Raiders are now 5-8-0 and 2-3-0 in the Metro East Conference, which puts them alone in fifth place. Hastings has just three matches left in the regular season before section playoffs begin.

The Raiders lost at Hill-Murray 8-0 on Sept. 26, and then fell at Simley 2-1 on Thursday, Sept. 28. That Saturday, Sept. 30, they hosted St. Paul Central. Central scored first but Hastings tied it up in the first half on a goal by sophomore Ari Green. What looked to be a competitive match quickly got out of hand for the Raiders as they gave up four second-half goals to St. Paul Central and lost 5-1.

"I thought we were situated pretty good, we talked at halftime (against St. Paul Central) about continuing that form of play because we had played a really good game against Simley, we probably carried the play for that game," head coach Scott Meier said. "But we didn't finish on our chances and we were left scratching our heads a little bit because we had a 2-1 loss and we thought we were the better of the two teams in that game. The mindset was to continue what we did for the 80 minutes against Simley and carry it through to this game. We did it in the first half and we needed to have another 40 minutes of effort. I felt like we would be able to find another goal or two, lock down a few of our adjustments and things like that. We had a couple of players we had to watch. The second half, for some reason we came out flat and it was a choppy second half for us. It was one I did not expect to see, and as a result we go from a 1-1 game at half to a 5-1 loss."

Heading into the last week of the regular season and then section playoffs, Meier said his team is playing a little bit up and down.

"It comes down to, not so much the skills, but having that mindset to play a full 80 minutes and being consistent," Meier said. "Doing all the simple things well and staying committed on the defensive side of the ball. A good defense is going to help breed opportunities and create chances for you, and that's where we have to have our focus. And then taking care of the ball when we do have it, that gives us a chance to have possession. We have some players throughout the lineup that can be impact players, but we need to have a sense of possession or a purpose on each touch of the ball."

The upcoming games will be crucial to how seeding goes this weekend for section playoffs.

"We've got Henry Sibley tonight, a conference team and a team in our section," Meier explained. "It's one of those games where you have to have it to ensure that going into the section meetings over the weekend we don't get stuck with an eight seed. Obviously we would like to be higher, but losses to Park and Apple Valley kind of situated us where we're going to have to try to elevate or lobby for a seventh seed. We have three games left, there's still a lot of game to be played in the regular season, if we have solid games and good performances, we might be able to leap frog some of those section teams and lobby for a higher seed."

Hastings hosted Henry Sibley on Tuesday, Oct. 3, and will play Mahtomedi Thursday, Oct. 5. They then travel to Bloomington Kennedy on Saturday, Oct. 7. Next week section playoffs start.