September 20, 2007 at 8:45 a.m.
Fridley scored four goals in the first half on their way to a 4-2 victory over the Wildcats Monday, September 10 at Chisago Lakes. Aaron Bergerson scored a goal in each half for the Wildcats, with Tyler Pojanowski and Brandyn Johnson each picking up an assist.
"We struggled a bit against Fridley," said Wildcat head coach Mark Leigh. "We knew they were going to be tough. They're quick, they're well-organized defensively and they've got a good new coach. We had some opportunities to score early, but didn't take advantage of them."
CL 0, Mahtomedi 0 (OT)
Senior goalkeeper David Berget earned his third shutout of the season as the Wildcats battled former section rival Mahtomedi to a 0-0 overtime tie Friday, September 14 at Mahtomedi.
"We controlled the first 20 minutes," said Wildcat head coach Mark Leigh, "but we didn't put one away. We had serves into the boxes, crosses and some attempts at thru balls. A couple of times we had open shots after we beat defenders, then cut back the other way, for some reason. We have to work on scoring."
CL 4, St. Croix Lutheran 1
The Wildcats scored three goals in the first 15 minutes of the game on their way to a 4-1 win over St. Croix Lutheran Monday, September 17 at Chisago Lakes.
Manuel Cruceru opened the scoring for the Wildcats just two minutes into the game when he curled the ball into the upper right corner of the net on a free kick. Five minutes later, Aaron Bergerson ripped a shot that the goalie couldn't hang onto. Ian Johnson, playing in his first varsity game of the season, knocked the rebound into the net to make it 2-0. Cameron Bouwens scored the third Wildcat goal as he flipped a crafty shot from inside the box up and over the goalie's head and into the net.
In the second half, St. Croix scored on a breakaway after a defensive breakdown by the Wildcats to pull within 3-1. St. Croix put a scare into the Wildcats after being awarded a penalty shot a few minutes later, but they missed the net to keep the Wildcat lead at two goals. Later in the half, Bouwens ran down a loose ball and launched it past the Mahtomedi goalie to make the final score Chisago Lakes 4, St. Croix Lutheran 1.
Sophomore Ian Johnson had to sit out the first half of the regular season because of the new transfer rule and made his season debut against St. Croix. "It was nice to see Ian in a game," said Wildcat head coach Mark Leigh. "We're still trying to get a feel for where he'll play."
The Wildcats were scheduled to host South St. Paul Tuesday, September 18. They'll play at home again next Tuesday, September 25 at 7 p.m. against last year's Class A state champions, Benilde-St. Margaret's. The Wildcats beat Benilde 2-1 in regular season play last year.
The Wildcats scored one goal in each half and held the Vikings scoreless to shut out the Vikings 2-0 Thursday, September 13 at Chisago Lakes. The 2-0 score was the closest in the seven-year history of the rivalry.
The Wildcats scored their first half goal when freshman sweeper Benj Figini headed in a corner kick from senior Brandyn Johnson. In the second half, Wildcat senior Aaron Bergerson scored with a header off of a crossing pass by senior Zach Lukas. Wildcat senior goalie David Berget had eight saves in notching his second shutout of the season.
"I told the guys North Branch could beat us this year if we didn't pay attention," said Wildcat head coach Mark Leigh. "The game ended up being very close. We had a lot of missed opportunities in this game." Two years ago, the Wildcats routed the Vikings 12-0. Last season, the Wildcats beat the Vikings 4-0. This season's 2-0 is a sure sign of continued improvement by the Vikings.
The Vikings gave out three game balls after the Chisago match. The first went to sophomore goalkeeper Austin Holmes. "Austin's efforts the past three games have been incredible," said Viking head coach Brad Gustafson. "He's really stepped up his game and his play against the Wildcats was superb." The Vikings' leading scorer this season, sophomore Brian Grand, earned the second game ball for manufacturing a couple of quality scoring chances. And junior defender Drew Lundquist was awarded the third game ball. Lundquist anchors the defense and played an excellent game against the Wildcats.
"It's not easy going 0-8," said Gustafson. "I know how hard our team is working, so it kind of hurts to see the guys be disappointed after a tough match that results in another loss. I'm trying to hammer home the message that their effort and improvement are not going unnoticed. Our team can no longer be glanced over by opponents, and has played several tight games in a row. We're going to keep working hard and the wins will come. I'm confident of that and very proud of the young men in our program."
Robbinsdale Cooper 4,
North Branch 3 (OT)
Sophomore Brian Grand scored all three Viking goals to lead the Vikings to a 3-3 tie with the Cooper Hawks at the end of regulation at home Monday, September 10. But Cooper scored the only goal in overtime to win the thriller 4-3, denying the Vikings their first win of the season.
Grand's first goal came off a well-placed direct kick. Freshman Nick Miller assisted him on his second goal, and Grand capped off his hat trick on a penalty kick late in regulation when fellow sophomore Christian Tempel was fouled in the box.
The Hawks scored early in the 10 minute overtime to take the lead. The Vikings had an opportunity to tie it up when they were awarded another penalty shot. The penalty shot was on net, but the Cooper goalie made a diving save to preserve his team's lead and earn the overtime victory.
The Vikings matched Cooper's 20 shots on the night. Senior captain Sean Karvonen hit the crossbar in regulation with one of those shots.
"We are improving each game and have been playing some quality possession soccer," said Viking head coach Brad Gustafson. "We strung together six consecutive passes several times in the game. This type of ball control can really set the tempo of a match. Our defense did an outstanding job committing to the game plan and leading the charge. They showed that if we play as a team we can be competitive against anyone."
The Vikings were scheduled to host conference opponent St. Francis Tuesday, September 18. They'll stay home to face PACT Charter School today, Thursday, September 20, at 7 p.m. The team will head to West St. Paul to play St. Croix Lutheran Monday, September 24 at 4:30 p.m., then return home to take on conference opponent St. Louis Park Tuesday, September 25 at 7 p.m.