FF, HLA hit the pitchPublished 11:19am Monday, August 19, 2013
It was a successful day for soccer in Fergus Falls as the Otter boys team hosted Alexandria, Crookston, and Hillcrest Lutheran Academy/Pelican Rapids at its annual jamboree.
The Comets took three games in the day of preseason matchups, while the Otters, looking to start fresh off a tough year in 2012, walked away with two wins and a loss.
The hometown teams faced off to start the day. Hillcrest took the scrimmage with a 3-0 shutout.
The Otter defense played strong against the Comet attack in the first half and fought to a 1-0 deficit at the break. Otter keeper Connor Hatfield made several key saves during the Comet push up front early on. The Otters failed to break out on their own, however, and could not equalize in the second half.
The Otters went on to take a 1-0 victory against Alexandria thanks to a goal by senior captain Sam Rausch from 18 yards. Rausch would find the back of the net two more times against Crookston in the third game, with one goal from 22 yards off an assist from Nathan Onstad. The team recorded its second win of the day, 2-1. Junior defenseman Mitchell Cole, who played physically for the Otters in the first two games, saw time in the net against the Pirates.
“I’m really pleased with their attitudes,” said Otter coach Beau Kruger. “Especially with our younger seventh- and eight- grade guys coming out today.”
Kruger said the Otters, who used the scrimmages to work out their younger players, gained from the leadership of senior captains Rausch and David Schneck on the field. Kruger said earlier in the week that much of their improvement over the year will rely on what the upperclassmen bring to each game and practice.
After its shutout against the Otters, the Comets went on to record another shutout against Crookston and took its third victory 5-1 from the Cardinals.
Having displayed much of their talent throughout the day, Comet coach Rod Jensen said after the games that the team, the majority of which is new every year, is still learning to communicate and will work on a few aspects of their game heading into the start of the season.
Jensen said he wants to see the team get wider as they push the ball up the field and improve their defense against corner kicks.
The Comets’ speed and ability with the ball was hard to miss throughout the day, however, with several shots and goals from quick ball movement and shot placement.
The Otters open its season Thursday against Detroit Lakes at home. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. The Comets open against Bemidji at 1 p.m on Saturday.