Crookston cut down by Fargo North, 4-0
Kaleb Thingelstad shot off his right foot and dove to his left, diving far enough to just barely push the ball away with his fingertips.
The Crookston goalkeeper made 11 saves during the first half Saturday. This one, coming in the 35th minute, was his best, though the Pirates needed the other 10 just as much.
That wasn't the way coach Lon Boike wanted the first half to play out. Of course he was happy that Thingelstad, a senior, was standing on his head on Senior Day. But he was less pleased it had to come down to him, especially with Crookston having a strong wind at its back throughout the half.
"I didn't think we took advantage of the wind as much as we could have," Boike said. "We had the wind behind us, but didn't get as many offensive opportunities."
Which made Fargo North's 1-0 lead at halftime seem even larger.
When the Spartans had their turn to attack with the wind, they didn't let it slip. They scored three times during the second half to run away with a 4-0 win, spoiling the Pirates' Senior Day on Saturday afternoon.
Crookston (1-6) got a few chances throughout the first half, but for the most part, Fargo North dictated the pace of play and kept more possession. The Spartans scored in the 11th minute when the Pirates let an attacker get free down the wing, but Thingelstad prevented further damage.
"He was pretty athletic in goal and he needed to be," Boike said. "He made a lot of nice saves for us."
The Pirates also relied on Thingelstad to jump-start their offense with his distribution out of goal. But the senior's booming goal kicks were often too far for even the speedy Noah Kiel to run down. While the Pirates had the wind-aided distance to threaten the Spartans' back line, they just couldn't control it.
That left Crookston with a deficit headed into a second half where it would need to fight against both Fargo North (4-10) and a strong headwind. But the Pirates' touches were still just a beat off, and Thingelstad couldn't stop everything headed his way.
The Spartans scored seven minutes out of halftime, and then seven minutes after that on a header off a corner kick. They then finished off their scoring in the 67th minute.
"It seems like it happens all the time, it's always windy when we're playing," Boike said. "We tried to have better ball control in the second half and better passing. I didn't think some of our touches on the ball were very good at times. We get a pass made to us and then it bounces off our leg and they take it. We've been working hard on that, we've gotten better at controlling and receiving passes, but it just didn't work out very well today."
Still, Boike was impressed with the effort of Thingelstad (who finished with 22 saves), Kiel and the rest of the Pirates' seniors — Gabe Montieth, Gavin Anderson, Jacob Miller, Noah Dragseth and Nolan Dans.
"It was their senior day and they played hard," Boike said. "We wanted them in there as much as possible, so maybe we didn't do quite as much subbing as we could have. ... We'll miss those guys next year and their leadership, but we still got more games left to go this year."
UP NEXT: The Pirates will take on Grand Forks Red River (7-4-2) on Monday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. Then, they'll have an even quicker turnaround, traveling to Fergus Falls to take on Hillcrest Lutheran (0-6) on Tuesday, Sept. 29 in a crucial game for Section 8A seeding purposes.
With Crookston embarking on a three-games-in-four-days stretch, Boike was relieved that his team made it through 80 minutes Saturday with no serious injuries.
"We got a couple guys that are sore ... so we just need to get rested up and make sure we're ready to go," Boike said. " ... Red River will be very, very good. We're gonna have our hands full Monday. I don't know what's gonna happen, but we wanna come through there healthy and mentally ready to play on Tuesday."
The Pirates beat Hillcrest Lutheran, 3-0, on Sept. 10 at home. Currently, they sit in fifth in Section 8A North, while the Comets are eighth.
"Monday's a big game, but Tuesday's an even bigger game for us," Boike said. "That's the game we really gotta go after and get that win."
- 10:30: Fargo North
- 47:21: Brennan McGetrick-Richards (Fargo North)
- 54:43: Maycoll Johnson (Fargo North)
- 66:53: Fargo North
- Crookston: Kaleb Thingelstad 22 saves (11 first half, 11 second)
- Fargo North: Sage Nelson 6 saves (6 first half, 0 second)
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