The Hastings Raiders -- who were the No. 6 seed in Section 4AA -- lost to the No. 3 Park of Cottage Grove Wolfpack 2-1 on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Park. It was Hastings’ second loss of the season to the Wolfpack, both by 2-1 scores. With the loss, the Raiders finish 2019 with a 5-8-2 overall record after taking fifth in the Metro East Conference (3-4-1).
Park led 1-0 at halftime but head coach Jamie Swanson said he was happy with how his team played.
“We made zero adjustments (at halftime), outside of that one good opportunity they (Park) had we felt that we were doing everything we asked the guys to do,” he said. “We actually created more opportunities, I believe on our count it was five good goal-scoring opportunities to their two, so we were good with where we were at. Like I told the guys at half, ‘don’t expect anything genius right now, you just need to keep going out and creating’. That was literally it.”
Hastings tied it up in the second half on a goal by sophomore Steven Krey with 16 minutes, 23 seconds left in regulation.
“Heck of a two saves by their (Park’s) goalkeeper, oh my god, the play was a good initial shot, the rebound got saved and to Steven’s credit, he wasn’t just ball watching, he was going after it and right place, right time, good for him,” Swanson said about Krey’s goal that tied the match at 1-1.
However, the Wolfpack were awarded a free kick just on the edge of the 18 when Hastings’ junior goalkeeper Matthew Qualy was penalized for rolling the ball while out of the box. Park scored on a free kick with just 1:30 left in the game and held on to win 2-1.
The call left in the Raiders in shock and Swanson vehemently disagreed with making that call at that moment.
“It was probably the correct call, but we don’t feel it was the right call, if that makes any sense,” he said. “He wanted to start the play, he wanted to get it going up the field, up until that point we were pressuring them and the momentum was clearly on our side and he wanted to get it back up there. He was out, the ref made the call, but with 1:30 left in the game, you didn’t hear anything from their (Park’s) bench. A direct kick from that spot.”
“I just don’t feel that that type of a call, handball in the box, foul in the box (sure) but that type of a call was a tough way to end a team an opportunity to win with 1:30 left,” Swanson continued. “So we were clearly in shock basically from that minute until we got on the bus. It was a tough deal.”
Swanson went on to say that you very rarely see that call made and it is the second year in a row that Hastings’ section hopes have been dashed with help of a questionable call.
Struggling to score has been a theme for the Raiders all season, though they were able to depend on a strong defense. They scored zero or one goal in 11 of their 15 matches and they did not score more than two goals in a match all season. However, they only allowed 18 goals during the season, including sections against Park, over 15 matches for an average of just over one goal per match.
Park went on to lose Thursday, Oct. 10, at No. 2 Woodbury 3-0. The Royals beat No. 7 White Bear Lake Area 5-0 in the first round. On the top half of the bracket, No. 1 East Ridge beat No. 8 Tartan 6-1 while No. 4 Stillwater Area beat No. 5 North St. Paul 2-1. East Ridge went on to beat Stillwater 3-1. East Ridge and Woodbury will face off on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at East Ridge for the section championship and the opportunity to go to state.