Eighth-grader stops 22 shots.

The Pirate girls’ soccer team in Crookston lost to a “very solid” Detroit Lakes Lakers soccer team by a 4-0 score. But if she’s looking for a bright spot, Pirate Head Coach Sarah Reese says the margin of victory for the Lakers in 2018 was significantly wider.

“We played very well, I thought,” she said. “I told the girls if they went out and competed for all 80 minutes, I would be happy with the end product. I told them if they play their hardest and their best for 80 minutes, whatever the score was at the end was what it would be.”

The Lakers got only one shot past Pirate goaltender Reese Swanson, an eighth-grader, in the first half. They put a trio of shots past the young net-minder in the second half. In all, Swanson made 22 saves, while the Pirates were able to put only one shot on goal against Laker goaltender Sarah Tangen.

“Reese in goal, she was being peppered with shots,” Reese said. “But her approach was very consistent; she came out aggressively at the right times and stayed back when she had to.”

Reese also singled out sophomore defender Aleah Bienek for her solid game.

Most of the game was played in the middle third of the field, and Reese thought the Pirates did well in holding the line defensively. But they just weren’t able to generate a lot of offense or shots, she added.

Anyone who has attended a Pirate girls’ soccer game knows how vocal and enthusiastic Reese is on the sidelines, and, to a somewhat lesser extent, assistant coach Anna Brekken. Asked about her highly vocal approach to coaching, Reese said it’s often necessary, but it’s also because she’s so passionate about the game in general, and her team.

“I always tell the girls that if they would be more vocal, I wouldn’t have to be so noisy,” she said. “A critical aspect of any soccer game is communication. If you watch any high-level soccer game, the one constant thing is communication. It’s loud and even unruly, but that’s what you need.”

With 11 players on the field and no constant starts-and-stops that occur in other sports, Reese said there has to be constant chatter, whether it’s among the players, or from the coach on the sideline.

“There’s no stoppage of the ball; if you wait 40 minutes to halftime to talk about something, it’s way too late,” she said. “The vocal piece is paramount in soccer.”

But do the girls respond? Each player is different, Reese explained. Some respond to her enthusiasm more than others, and she’s starting to realize some players are more receptive to one-on-one communication. But Reese said one thing she’s noticed is that when she tries to be more quiet during a game, the girls notice that, too.

“Instantly, at halftime, they’ll be like, ‘Are you upset? Why weren’t you yelling?’ So when I try to be more controlled, they think I’m mad or frustrated,” Reese explained. “Each player is wired differently. We have lots of new players trying to navigate time and space on the field. My role is to help them in any way I can.

“And, obviously, I’m just passionate about soccer,” she added.