Soccer season off to a quick start

By Bruce Karnick
Posted 9/1/23

Both the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams have had two games apiece so far this season. First was a trip to Eastview and second was hosting Bloomington Jefferson. The boys started the season …

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Soccer season off to a quick start


Both the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams have had two games apiece so far this season. First was a trip to Eastview and second was hosting Bloomington Jefferson. The boys started the season 2-0 and the girls 0-2 with their second games mimicking the first. 


“The last 2 years we have done a classroom session right before we go to Todd Field for our first Player ID session (tryout),” explained Head Coach Jamie Swanson. “Our boys soccer leadership council presents a character lesson and we kind of use it as a theme throughout the Player ID process and refer back to it during parts of our season. This year was the SISU lesson. It was a perfect choice. Tom Brenny and Christian Waage do an amazing job with this group of students!” 

SISU? SISU is a Finnish thought process that stemmed from the Finnish word ‘sisus’ which literally translates to ‘internal’. It’s the backbone, drive and courage that allows you to overcome adversity and see things through to the end. It’s not envisioning the end goal. It’s taking yourself to the goal step by step. It is a strength and resilience that helps overcome any challenges, and it is clear the boys understand this process after two come-from-behind wins. 

The first game at Eastview saw the boys fall behind 0-3 at the half but shut down their opponent to storm back and win, 4-3. 

“I wish I could say the coaches came up with the greatest halftime tactical changes of our lives, but I would be romanticizing it,” laughed Swanson. “Coaches Shane Lanning, Dan Schaack and I like usual, give them three points of emphasis total, and they did well in translating those points into their play. The players won the match because they didn’t give up, and we had a little bit of luck on a couple plays, but you create your own luck!” 

The Bloomington Jefferson game had a similar feel, down 0-2 at the half only to rally in the second half to win 3-2. 

“Against Jefferson we really hadn't played badly but found ourselves down 0-2 at the half. We had an unlucky handball that resulted in a penalty kick conversion for them, so Jefferson really only had one goal in the run of play. About 10 minutes into the second half, we made a tactical change that helped us cover some areas that were continually causing us problems. The guys did a great job in executing without training this particular tactical change yet. They are smart players who have no problem adjusting and knew the roles of positions,” added Swanson. 

Another aspect of the Jefferson game was the support of the students, especially the football team in the second half. Their arrival seemed to give the guys on the field a boost knowing their peers are there to support them. 

“Again, though we just put timely balls in the back of the net and came away with another section win, it has been a fun start to the season,” said Swanson. 

The boys start the season 2-0 and now have a week off this week before they return to the pitch on Sep. 5 at 7:00 p.m. to take on New Richmond and then again Sep. 9 at 1:00 p.m. to take on Apple Valley. Both games are at home. 


The girls started the season 0-2 with losses to Eastview 0-3 and Bloomington Jefferson 1-2. Against Eastview, the Raiders started out slow and did not play well the first half. 

“We had to adapt to high school soccer,” said Head Coach Paul Armstrong. “It's different than club and what these what we're used to. So that was a huge learning curve for us in that first half. We turned it around in the second half, we played outstanding soccer the way that we can going forward. Defensive rotations were good. We had an outstanding second half and a good response from the girls.” 

That seemed to be true for both games, the girls played a much more consistent and cleaner second half, especially against Eastview when they shut down the Lightning after falling behind 0-3 in the first half. 

Against the Jaguars, both teams spent the first half getting a feeling for how their opponents play. All the scoring happened in the second half when play became a bit more aggressive. Ultimately, Hastings fell 1-2. 

The girls make their annual road trip to Duluth to play two games up there, the first game is at Duluth East on Aug 30 at 6:30 p.m. the second game is at Duluth Denfeld on Aug 31 at 2:00 p.m. After the Duluth trip, the ladies have eight days with no games, returning to the pitch on Sep 9 at 3:00 p.m. to take on Apple Valley at home.