The Hastings boys' and girls' soccer teams ran into some very good opponents in the opening round of section 4AA playoffs last week, which resulted in shutout losses for both teams and the end of their seasons.
The boys finish their season with an overall record of 9-6-2 including the playoffs, which featured a six-match winning streak toward the end. Meanwhile, the girls end their season 7-10 after a very up-and-down campaign.
Boys face bad matchup
The Raider boys fell behind quickly to Woodbury as the Royals went up 3-0 in the first 10 minutes.
"About two or three minutes in, they scored a really, really good goal," head coach Jamie Swanson said. "That was the way it started and after that they (Woodbury) just attacked hard and were sneaking guys through our defenders. They popped in two easy goals for them, we didn't make it very hard."
After that initial flurry, Woodbury managed two more goals toward the end of the first half to lead 5-0 going into halftime.
Hastings was able to create some chances early but were unable to convert and that was about all the offensive momentum they were able to create.
"Before they scored their fourth (goal), we actually pressed hard and created two very good chances ourselves," Swanson said. "One of their defenders cleared one off the line with his head and it would have been a goal. About two minutes after that we got it down to the six-yard box but there were too many legs. We took a shot and it just bounced off of one."
After that the Raiders struggled to get much going on offense.
"We were having problems with their movement off of the ball," Swanson explained. "They had purpose to everything they did. When somebody would have their back to the goal, there would be somebody moving into space for that support pass. It really was a one-touch pass to the forward after that, so as that support pass was going through someone was making a diagonal run forward, and nine times out of ten they were getting the ball.. It just kind of left us a bit on our heels since we never knew where those runs were coming from."
One problem Woodbury poised Hastings throughout the game was their depth.
"Even their reserves were decent," Swanson said. "Obviously we played with them a lot better, but when you're down 5-0, you have to have a pretty big character-filled team to deal with that."
Woodbury scored three more goals in the second half and Hastings lost 8-0.
Girls unable to keep up with the Blaze
The Raider girls ran into a buzz-saw of a team in the Burnsville Blaze, who are ranked 10th in the state in Class AA. Like the boys, the fell behind quickly and were unable to pressure their opponent enough to form a comeback.
"Burnsville is a very technical team and displays a fast speed of play," head coach Scott Meier said. "They have been in the top 10 or 15 in (class) AA all season. Their movement off of the ball was challenging for our girls to defend against. We knew they were a strong team to compete against and they came out with a very strong start and got up 3-0 fairly quick on us."
Meier said they made numerous adjustments during the match but the Blaze were able to quickly counter each one.
"I think that had us on our heels and we adjusted our formation to provide some defending depth and help in the middle," he explained. "But Burnsville was able to change their point of attack in response. Our girls kept playing hard and fighting, but it was a match where the opponent was a few levels stronger than us in reality."
Hastings eventually lost by a score of 12-0, but Meier emphasized the successes his team had over the course of the season, which included them winning seven games, which he said is the most they've had in several years, and going 4-3 at home.