Girls pick up first conference win since 2010
The Forest Lake girls went 1-1 last week, losing to No. 9 ranked (Class AA) Andover on Wednesday, then coming back to pull off a conference win against East Ridge the following evening.
Ranger head coach, Hanz Lehrke, said the 4-0 loss against Andover was just frustrating.
“I just felt bad for the ladies,” Lehrke said. “There were some silly mental mistakes and at the end of the day, the ball needs to hit the back of the net.”
According to Lehrke, the Rangers maintained ball control over the Huskies about 80% of the game, and had 13 shots on goal, but just couldn’t finish. It was similar to the St. Francis game earlier in the season, in which Forest Lake’s offensive attack was seemingly unstoppable, yet the girls were unable to hammer it home.
Lehrke attributes the missed shots to nerves and the young line-up. With a handful of juniors, sophomores and one ninth-grader in the mix for the frontline, Lehrke will look to his senior captains Olivia Norman and Skye Finley and junior captain, Lara Steinhoff, for their continued positive attitude and leadership to help calm the nerves on offense.
“Our leaders have such a calm demeanor and great work ethic, and that more beneficial to this team than anything else,” Lehrke said.
That strong leadership proved true the next day when Forest Lake defeated East Ridge 1-0 with the winning goal coming from Finley with less than ten minutes to go in the game. It was a power goal too, since the shot came from nearly 25 yards out.
Lehrke was pleased with the offense, especially since the Ranger team has worked so hard on taking quicker shots rather than waiting for the perfect shot to present itself. Forest Lake again maintained ball control much of the game, and succeeded despite facing a daunting Raptor goalie with good anticipation.
Ranger defense had a strong showing as well, staying sure to clear East Ridge as fast as possible. Lehrke said Ranger goalie, junior Loren Kempenich, had a stellar performance.
“Our goal-tending and defense were definitely positives,” Lehrke said. “I think that’s the best game Loren has had.”
This was the first conference win for the Ranger girls in two years, the last was back in 2010 over Hastings. Lehrke said the win is something to be proud of and build on.
“We’ve been focusing so much on every game being just a game, but it’s also important that the girls now have something to show for the hard work they’ve put in.”
With a record of 3-4, Forest Lake hoped to show off again this Tuesday when they faced Park of Cottage Grove in an away game at 5 p.m.