The Lakeland boys’ soccer team traveled to Medford on Thursday night for another conference soccer match.
This was the second meeting between the two teams, with Lakeland winning the first one in Minocqua. This time, the Raiders won 2-1 to salvage a series split.
“It brings the intensity up, it brings the team up if the team can step up to the potential the team is capable to put out,” explained coach Ihor Myshchyshyn said. “Both teams came out really hot.”
Midway through the second half, Brandon Boh received a red card for a foul causing Lakeland to play shorthanded. It was 10 against 11 for the last half of the game.
“I was proud of the team, we played a man down,” Myshchyshyn said. “The boys were able to press and get a penalty kick out of it.”
In addition to that, Lakeland goalie Vincent Strong went down late in the second half. Dylan Wayland came in to replace him with 15 minutes to go in a 1-1 game.
“I think the switch of the goalie was a psychological switch for them, anticipating a weaker goalie,” Myshchyshyn said. “At that point [Medford] was not able to make a single shot other than the corner kick.”
The Thunderbirds were trying to survive.
At 85:20, Medford nearly had a goal by Kale Klussendorf to give them the lead, but it went over the crossbar on top of the net.
Two minutes later, Klussendorf’s corner kick was headed in by Onyi Ekwueme at 87:05 for the go-ahead goal.
Medford scored their first goal right away in the first half at the three minute mark. Gage Neubauer shot a header right in front of the goalie for a 1-0 lead.
The second half got a little chippy as both teams had more chances to score. Boh nearly had one go in at the 39:50 mark. He took a nice pass from Kyle Bengtson and beat goal keeper Brady Hupf but hit the left post.
“[Boh’s] one of those players that the whole team feeds off,” Myshchyshyn said. “He brings it on the field - the intensity, the quickness, the aggressiveness, the ability to read the situation and react to it quickly.”
Collin Quade had a header off a corner kick at 66:10, but was just wide. Medford had a couple of chances too, but was snuffed out by Strong, saving a goal at the 69:45 mark.
The Thunderbirds finally got on the board with a goal by Bengtson off a penalty kick in the box at the 79:23 mark of the game. The game was tied 1-1.
“The foul was committed against us in the box and [Kyle] executed the penalty kick,” Myshchyshyn said.
Their next game came Monday, September 30 at Kingsford. Coverage of that will be in the October 4 edition of The Times
After that, the Thunderbirds host Rhinelander on Thursday, October 3 starting at 7 p.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]