The Hastings Raiders boys’ and girls’ soccer teams hosted a double header against the North St. Paul Polars Tuesday, Oct. 1, to kick off the Raiders’ homecoming week. Both teams played through the rain and cold as downpours alternated with mists and temperatures were in the mid-50s. The Hastings boys played a close match with the Polars until late in the second half and ended up falling 3-0. Meanwhile, the Raider girls blew out the North St. Paul girls 6-0 after scoring five goals in the second half. It was senior night for both teams. The boys fell to 5-6-2 with the loss and have just one match left -- at Hill-Murray on Thursday -- while the girls are now 11-1-2 with two matches left at Hill-Murray with the boys and a makeup at home against Henry Sibley on Saturday.
The boys teams were scoreless after the first half but when the second half started, things started to get a little weird. Junior goalkeeper Matthew Qualy played in the goal during the first half but was then moved to the midfield for the second half to help facilitate the Raiders’ offense. He was replaced by sophomore Carter Homb, who was then hurt just minutes into the second half. Rather than move Qualy back into goal, senior forward Brad Route was put in as goalie and he really played well despite making what was probably his first goalie appearance in years or longer.
North St. Paul scored with just over 33 minutes left in the second half and the score stayed at 1-0 Polars until the final minutes. They then scored another goal with 3 minutes, 30 seconds left on a weird play where both teams stopped playing expecting a foul to be called on the Polars but none came and they scored after a one-on-one with Route. Another goal with under 30 seconds left and the final was 3-0. North St. Paul out shot Hastings 26-7.
The girls’ game was very different as they applied constant pressure to the North St. Paul defense and dominated both halves. Senior Libby Larcholey scored the first goal after drawing a foul and then booting it home when the Polar goalie came out and misplayed. The Raiders led 1-0 at half after out-shooting the Polars 6-1.
The second half is when Hastings really poured it on. Less than two minutes into the second half, senior Noelle Zwart scored to make it 2-0, assisted by fellow senior Ari Green. Twenty minutes later senior Grace Wagner headed in a free kick from sophomore Bella Meier and it was 3-0. Less than a minute after Wagner’s goal, there was a mad scramble in front of the net including a collision with the Polar goalie and Larcholey put the rebound in for her second goal of the night. With less than five minutes left in the match, Meier had another free kick that was knocked in by a Polar player on accident. She added a second goal to make the final 6-0. In all, Meier and Larcholey each had two goals, Wagner and Zwart each had a goal apiece and Green added two assists.