A thunderstorm could not stop the Lakeland boys soccer team from playing its first road conference game at Rhinelander.
With the storm past them, the Hodags won a tight 2-1 game over the Thunderbirds on Thursday, Sept. 5.
Both teams were feeling each other out in the first half. Brandon Boh tried to get things going for Lakeland in the seventh minute as he split thought the defense and took a left-footed shot. The shot was saved by Rhinelander.
Four minutes later, Rhinelander had a corner kick that was kicked to the far back post. It caromed out to the 30 where another shot was attempted, but was wide right.
In the 23rd minute, it looked as if the Thunderbirds had their first goal. On a through ball to Boh, there was a collision in the box and a goal by Boh. But the goal was disallowed due to offsides.
Two minutes later, Kyle Peterson tried to score with a header on a cross in the box. It was wide left and the score remained 0-0.
“We could have scored a couple of more goals,” Lakeland coach Ihor Myshchyshyn said. “My feeling on that is we do need to work more on the quality of shots, which is not something you can fix over one or two practices.”
Rhinelander’s best chance to score in the first half came in the 31st minute. Rhinelander crossed one in the box that was cleared by the Lakeland defense on the back post.
That led to a corner kick Lakeland struggled to clear. Rhinelander took another shot and it went wide right.
There was a little spat before the end of the first half that involved both teams. Both Kyle Peterson and Hugh Wiese got yellow cards.
Then Boh had a chance to score before the end of the first half. He split two defenders off the right flank and took a shot from the edge of the six the went wide right. The score was 0-0 at halftime.
“In my mind, the best thing you can do is create chances. Some go and some are not. We had a few especially in the first half that could have given us a couple goals,” Myshchyshyn said.
Rhinelander had three chances to score within four minutes of the start of the second half. All of the shots missed and the game remained scoreless.
In the 60th minute, Boh had a free kick from 25 yards out that went short of the wall. There was no threat and the game was still tied.
Lakeland goalie Vincent Strong went down in the 64th minute. He left the game with seven saves and Adam Klappa replaced him.
A couple of minutes later, Rhinelander tested the new goalie. They had a shot from the 30 that was bobbled and covered up. Then they had corner kick that was blocked and cleared.
But in the 69th minute, a Hodag was taken down in the box which resulted in a penalty kick. Harrison Shinners took the shot, tucked it inside the left post and the Hodags led 1-0.
Lakeland had a quick response. Boh pressed down the field and took a hard shot that was a handball in the box by a Hodag. A penalty kick ensued in the 71st minute.
Kyle Bengtson was chosen for the penalty kick and he scored inside the left post. The game was tied 1-1.
“My recommendation would be to the players,” Myshchyshyn said. “But other than that it was up to them to choose or figure out. They choose Kyle on the field.”
Rhinelander had a bouncer into the box in the 87th minute that went over Klappa’s head. There was a scrum in front and Jacob Ostrander got a piece of the ball off an attempt to clear by Lakeland’s Josh Sennett.
Ostrander had gotten just enough of the ball and scored with Joseph Heck getting the assist. Hodags led 2-1.
“Unlucky bounce went right over (Klappa),” Myshchyshyn said. “Very nice effort of clearing by Josh Sennet, just didn’t have enough angle to get it cleared so it ended up our own net.”
The Thunderbirds didn’t have much time to answer. Judson Bybee passed it to Boh who shot it from 20 yards out that went wide right.
In the 90th minute, Boh had a header that bounced over a Hodag to Kyle Peterson. Kyle Peterson went to the back post where it hit off the bottom of the cross bar. It was cleared and the game ended.
“After (Rhinelander’s) goal we had a few more minutes,” Myshchyshyn said. “Our team was fantastic to watch, team glued together, paced with tremendous pressure on Rhinelander with a chance to score.”
The Thunderbirds’ next game comes Thursday, Sept. 12 at Northland Pines starting at 4:30 p.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]