|10/16/2020 11:43:00 AM|
Eighth-seeded Lady Vikes upset by Hermantown in opening round
Hermantown 4, North Branch 2
In the Section 7A playoff opener, poor defensive play by the eighth-seeded Vikings led to three goals for the ninth-seeded Hermantown Hawks’ in the first half. The Vikings were unable to catch up and lost 4-2 to the Hawks. The Hawks advanced to the section quarterfinals. The loss ended the season for the Vikings. The game was played at North Branch High School this past Tuesday, October 13.
Just three minutes into the game, a ball got into the Viking box. It didn’t appear to be too dangerous, but miscommunication and a lack of defensive aggression resulted in the ball rolling across the goal line and into the back of the net to put the Hawks up 1-0. The Vikings answered just 30 seconds later. Lilly Johnson knocked a ball away from the Hermantown goalkeeper just inside the top of the box and rolled it into the net to tie the game at 1-1, allowing the Vikings a chance for a fresh start. But in the eleventh minute, the Vikings did a poor job of trying to clear the ball out of their box, the ball bounced around and dribbled slowly toward the goal line. Neither Viking goalkeeper Hailey Maurer nor any of the Viking defenders could get to it before it slid across the line just inside the right post. It appeared that one of the Hawks may have touched the ball with her hand in all the activity in front of the net. The referee came over to discuss it with one of the assistant referees and they determined there was no hand ball, allowing the goal to count and putting the Vikings behind 2-1
In the 23rd minute, the Vikings had a throw-in deep down the left side in the Hermantown end. Paige Bauer’s flip throw sailed into the middle of the penalty area, but none of the Vikings could get a foot or a head on it and the ball was knocked harmlessly away. Less than two minutes later, the Hawks sent a corner kick into the middle of the box to an unmarked player. Typically, on a corner kick, the defending team stations a player just to the inside of each post. But, in this case, there was not a Viking player near the right post and the Hawk player shot the ball inside that post to put the Hawks up 3-1. The Hawks kept up the pressure the rest of the half, tired Viking strikers were not able to take advantage of a couple of scoring opportunities and the score stayed at 3-1 going into halftime.
In the 69th minute, the Vikings got the ball to the top left corner of the Hermantown penalty area with a lot of net to shoot at. But the shot sailed wide of the right post. Shortly thereafter, a Hawk player beat a Viking defender one on one deep in the left corner of the Viking zone, dribbled toward the goal and sent it to the middle of the box, where one of her teammates one-timed it into the back of the net to make it 4-1. Ava Gerten scored off of a nice through ball in the 72nd minute to cut the score to 4-2, but the Vikings didn’t put any pressure on the Hawks the rest of the way other than a scoring opportunity with about 30 seconds to go that was knocked away by the keeper.
It's unfortunate that, offensively, the Vikings were not able to take advantage of the excellent punting skills of goalkeeper Hailey Maurer and the ability of Bauer, with her flip throw, to effectively turn any throw-in deep in Hawk territory into a corner kick.