Hodags Topple Lakeland 2-1
After a string of very close losses, boys soccer coach Nathan Bates was looking for that one missing ingredient- intensity. On Thursday night at Mike Webster Stadium his team provided two solid halves of intensity to beat the Lakeland Thunderbirds 2-1.
In the previous three contests of the season, the Hodags got off to slow starts. That was not the case against Lakeland on Thursday night. Rhinelander began the game with a ferocious attack from the first whistle. The Hodags dominated the first half offensively with numerous opportunities as a result of some nifty give and go passing through the middle of the field. After generating 10 shots on goal however, they couldn't find the back of the net in the first half ended in a 0-0 tie.
The Hodags started the second half with the same intensity as the beginning of the game. Twenty six minutes into the second half the Thunderbirds goalkeeper was replaced due to an undisclosed injury. Minutes later Rhinelander was awarded a penalty kick and senior defender Harrison Shinners buried the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later Lakeland senior Kyle Bengtson scored on a penalty kick to tie the game at 1-1. With three and a half minutes left in the match the Hodags regained the lead on a ball that was mishandled by the Lakeland goalkeeper. The game officials ruled the score as an "own goal". The shot however was last touched by junior forward Jacob Ostrander. The Hodags and Thunderbirds traded punches for the last 3 minutes of the game, but Rhinelander was able to hang on for the win.
"It felt great tonight, the boys played their hearts out and gave 110 percent for the entire game. Lakeland is a tough team and we came together tonight as one team and it showed" said coach Bates. "The goal we scored on the penalty kick set the tone, the boys were hungry and proved that they wanted this game".
Rhinelander's next game is on Thursday, September 12 at Mosinee.