Rangers split 1-1 to end regular season

Kat Ladwig
Sports Editor

Forest Lake took on the Suburban East Conference leader White Bear Lake last Tuesday and lost a close one in overtime, 4-2.

According to head coach Hanz Lehrke, the Rangers played well against the Bears, who now have an overall record of 13-1-2.

“This was another full match of them playing well and arguably out-playing the eighth-ranked team in state,” Lehrke said.

Scoring for the Rangers were senior captain Olivia Norman and junior midfielder Savannah Swanson. Both goals were unassisted from about 30 yards out, shots that Lehrke has encouraged to keep the defenses on their toes.

But the long goals wouldn’t be enough for the Rangers, as the Bears, who are now No. 7 in Class 2A, scored with just 27 seconds left in the first overtime period. Forest Lake’s starting goalie, junior Loren Kempenich, was also injured on the play when a forward kicked her in the leg. Both Forest Lake squads have struggled with injured goalies this season: the boys’ team saw two sidelined to concussions, and now Kempenich is out with a fractured tibia.

“As a keeper, you get beat up a lot,” Lehrke said, who was also a goalie. “This time it broke her leg.”

Following Kempenich’s season-ending break, sophomore Cassidy Baker took over for Forest Lake in net.

The second overtime goal by the Bears followed on a corner kick. Lehrke said his team was caught standing around in both cases.

“We definitely got caught,” Lehrke said. “We just need to understand that you gotta watch the clock and the ball. We gotta clear the ball.”

Forest Lake’s defense did just that on Thurday, when they shut out Hastings in a 5-0 victory.

It was a slow start for both sides, until junior captain Lara Steinhoff opened up the game with a two-on-two goal at the end of the first half.

“I told them at halftime that they were still leaving stuff out on the field,” Lehrke said. “And they delivered.”

Scoring in the second half for the Rangers were Steinhoff again, Norman, senior captain Skye Finley and sophomore Sammi Weigel.

The game was also a an important showing for Baker, who has played just over 160 minutes of varsity soccer.

“This was a nice win,” Lehrke said. “We beat a team we should beat by the score we should have won by.”

Forest Lake will travel to St. Francis tonight, Oct. 11, for its first section game starting at 7 p.m. St. Francis is No. 3 in the section with an overall record of 11-5 and they beat the Rangers 3-0 earlier this season, but Lehrke is confident his team can win.

“I think our defense as a whole will be OK. My concern is still scoring and mental errors, otherwise I don’t see a reason why we’d lose the game,” Lehrke said. “Any team can beat any team, and I whole-heartedly believe we can win.”