September 29, 2011 at 10:03 a.m.

Wildcats and Vikings split county battle on the pitch

Logan Klatt’s early long distance goal proves to be difference in low-scoring affair
Wildcats and Vikings split county battle on the pitch
Wildcats and Vikings split county battle on the pitch

North Branch 1, Chisago Lakes 0

Viking Logan Klatt scored on an odd goal just nine minutes into the game and it proved to be all the Vikings needed as they upset the Wildcats 1-0 Tuesday, September 27 at North Branch High School. The QRF rankings on minnesota-scores.net had ranked the Wildcats quite a bit higher than the Vikings prior to the game.

On Klatt's goal, he lined up to take a free kick from midfield. He lofted the ball in the direction of the net. The ball bounced near the top of the 18-yard box. Viking Justin Brunet, who was screening Wildcat goalkeeper Jack Logan, moved to head the ball. Logan moved with him to attempt to thwart the header. Brunet missed the header as the ball went right past Brunet and Logan and into the net to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead.

The Wildcats dominated play for most of the game after Klatt's goal, but Viking goalkeeper Joe Philipsen and the Viking defense, led by Trent Holmes, kept the Wildcats from scoring the equalizer.

At the 60 minute mark, Wildcat Eli Trochman took a free kick from about 30 yards out. The ball looked like it was headed just under the crossbar, but Philipsen leaped and tipped it over the net to deny Trochman's attempt.

In the 71st minute, Klatt and Wildcat keeper Logan raced toward a ball bouncing into the front left corner of the Wildcat box. Klatt got there just before Logan. Logan ran into Klatt and the Vikings were awarded a penalty kick. Holmes, a teammate of Logan's during summer soccer, lined up to take the penalty kick. He shot the ball toward the inside of the left post. Logan had guessed right and was moving in that direction. He dove and got his fingertips on the ball, pushing it toward the left edge of the box near the goal line. He ran over, dove again and cradled the ball. Holmes got there late and ran into Logan. Holmes received a yellow card for his actions. Logan's big save had kept the Wildcats' fadinghopes alive.

Just a minute later, Wildcat Zach Pautz lined up for a corner kick from the right corner. He put a beautiful ball into the middle of the box. The ball was knocked away, but the Wildcats regained possession and shot toward the left post from about six yards out in the center of the box. Philipsen dove to his right to knock the ball away and preserve the lead.

After some more back and forth, the Wildcats got possession of the ball in the Wildcat end with 17 seconds remaining. Joey Cartier carried the ball into the Viking end and a couple of nice passes put the ball onto the foot of Tyler Sager about 25 yards out above the left edge of the Viking box. With three seconds left, Sager ripped a shot that sailed just inches over the crossbar, and the game was over. The teams had fought hard to the very end and the Vikings celebrated their 1-0 win.

"Last year," said Viking head coach Graeme Jury, "we dominated the game and Chisago scored the only goal on a rebound off their player's face to beat us 1-0. We waited a whole year for this and it feels pretty good to beat them 1-0 this year. Joe Philipsen made several key saves for us tonight and Trent Holmes has been shutting guys down all season. He's a son of a gun at stopping scoring opportunities."

Wildcat head coach Mark Leigh was understandably disappointed after the game. He said "the lack of scoring was frustrating. As a coaching staff, we tried to get the guys to do the things they needed to do to be successful, but it just wasn't there tonight."


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