|10/16/2020 11:42:00 AM|
St. Francis finally breaks through against NB and ends their season
St. Francis 2, North Branch 0
The eleventh-seeded Viking boys’ soccer team played the sixth-seeded St. Francis Fighting Saints three times this season and gave up just a total of two goals. Unfortunately, those two goals came in the opening Section 7A playoff game this past Tuesday, October 13, and the Fighting Saints shut out the Vikings 2-0 to advance to the section quarterfinals. The loss ended the Vikings’ season. The game was played at St. Francis High School.
The Vikings battled St. Francis to 0-0 ties in the season opener and in the team’s second-to-last regular season game. So, they entered the playoffs with a chance to upset the Saints and move on to the section quarterfinals. But the Vikings, who had not scored a goal in their previous three games, fell behind 1-0 in the first half. The Vikings best scoring opportunity came late in the half when goalie Tanner Bollman came out to take a free kick from about 70 yards out. He blasted a line drive that bounced in the right side of the St. Francis penalty area. Unfortunately, no Vikings were in position to get a foot on it and the ball skipped to the right of the right post. With a minute to go in the half, Bollman made a leaping save on a ball that was headed to the inside of the left post and just knocked it wide of the post to keep the score at 1-0.
Bollman stopped two great Saints’ scoring opportunities in the first two minutes of the second half, knocking away a nice crossing pass and diving to beat a Saints’ player to a ball rolling into the box. A few seconds later, a St. Francis player fired a shot from close range that beat Bollman but hit the crossbar, keeping the score at 1-0. Around the 50th minute, a shot off of a nice Saints’ corner kick got past Bollman and appeared headed for the back of the net, but a Viking defender was Johnny-on-the-spot and knocked the ball away just before it crossed the goal line. And a minute or so later, a St. Francis goal was waved off due to an offsides call.
In the 62nd minute, a Saints’ corner kick from the left corner sailed into the middle of the box. The ball bounced around a bit before a Saints’ player popped a shot toward the upper left corned of the net. Bollman made the save, but the ball bounced back into the middle of the box and one of the Saints tapped the ball just inside the right post to make the score 2-0. The Vikings’ best scoring opportunity came soon after. Aaron Maroschek split the defense and ran down a through ball as the St. Francis keeper came out to try to beat him to it. Maroschek won the race and sent a shot to the right to avoid the keeper. Unfortunately, the shot went a little too far to the right and rolled just outside the right post, keeping the game at 2-0. St Francis kept up the pressure for the last 13 minutes of the game, having another goal waved off for offsides and again hitting the crossbar. The St. Francis coach was nearly ejected complaining about the offsides call and a Viking player who disagreed with some late calls was given a yellow card with about four minutes to go. None of that mattered as the Saints’ finished off the 2-0 win.