Rangers tie with White Bear, blank Hastings
Rangers boys’ soccer came off five straight losses to close its season with a tie and a win. The Rangers tied 2-2 against White Bear Lake at home last Tuesday before hosting a win 3-0 over Hastings on Senior Night last Thursday.
Forest Lake head coach Matt Koehn said the first of the two was a good conference matchup but his boys just needed a little stronger showing.
“I thought we were the better team that day, but we still battled for what we got,” Koehn said. “It would have been nice to come away with a win, but you know, it’s not a loss either.”
Scoring for Forest Lake against the Bears were senior captains Matt Eiden and Austin Rizzo. Rizzo just came back from an injury and scored the tying goal in the final minute of regulation.
Koehn said the highlight of the match was how his team showed depth by a number of players stepping up and creating ball movement.
Some of those players were able to prove it again on Thursday, when three Rangers scored the goals to contribute to the 3-0 shutout of Hastings at the cold and windy afternoon game. Eiden, senior Matt Keith and junior Garret Peterson scored while Eiden and Peterson also contributed two and one assists, respectively.
The goals all came within the final 10 minutes of the game. Although Koehn’s game plan was to attack and score early to set the tone against the Raider squad, the head coach said he was pleased with the ball movement and pressure on net. He also said the win will help the boys going into section preliminaries.
“We know we’ve been playing fairly well, and our results have shown our skills,” Koehn said. “It’s not that our style has changed much this year, but as these results come in, it definitely helps give our guys a sense of confidence so they know they can win.”
It also helps that the Rangers are starting to get healthy again with both goalies, senior Nick Ladwig and junior Keenan Patterson, back in the lineup, along with Rizzo. Although senior Joe Rappa and senior captain Dan Mollett have been limited with injuries, Koehn hopes to have them full-strength again soon.
The Rangers, seeded fifth, kick off their section showing at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at fourth-seeded Andover. Forest Lake defeated the Huskies earlier this season 2-0, but the Andover squad was short its top player due to a red-card penalty. The Huskies will be full-strength this time, and Koehn said his team is prepared for a physical matchup and expects Andover to put full coverage on Eiden.
“We’re going to have to find the other guys, and look to the younger guys to step up and perform,” Koehn said. “We’ll try to switch up the point of attack, offset them a bit and catch them off guard.”