RED WING — Facing one of the top-ranked Class A boys' soccer teams on Thursday, a young and still growing Red Wing squad was given another learning opportunity with a 15-1 loss to Austin.
Austin flexed its muscle early in the game by scoring 10 goals before the end of the first half. The Packers added five more goals in the second half as well.
Red Wing managed one goal on three total shots on goal to avoid the shutout. The Wingers goal was scored by Nick Snouffer, who has scored all three of Red Wing's goals this season.
The Wingers' goaltending tandem of Greggory Stallard and Leo Walter had five saves apiece.
A season of growth
Going into the season, Red Wing knew it was going to have to replace roughly half of its starting lineup from a year ago. Of the nine returning varsity players this year, five were starters last year and four came off the bench. Being that the Wingers current roster has 22 players on it, that's a whole lot of inexperience. Couple that with a schedule that's entire Big 9, and Red Wing's incoming players are going to get a trial by fire.
Getting a new batch of athletes up to varsity speed is a challenge in of itself so Red Wing boys' soccer head coach Nate Weess wants to take it step-by-step.
"The tough part is we're replacing a defense. You have to start rebuilding there," Weess said. "Early on, I may ask some of those returning guys that may have played some midfield for us last year to step back to defense to help solidify it a bit."
The other side of that coin is that while the defense is almost entirely new, the attack remains almost completely intact from a year ago. Nick Snouffer returns as the focal point of the Red Wing offense as do Greyson Magill and Jed Heineman.
There are also captains Noah Morgan and Krisztian Draper to help Weess groom the younger players on the field.
"Noah showed leadership last year as a sophomore. He’s really stepped up," Weess said. "Leo Walter has been really stepping up as a senior leader as well.
"With us being inexperienced, the midfield and forward core will work pretty well together, it’s just a matter of solidifying our defense. Early on the strategy may just be to get the ball to our midfield as quick as possible and let them and the forwards work together."
Wingers fall to Winhawks
Red Wing's young and inexperienced boys' soccer team received another dose of Big 9 competition on Tuesday with an end result similar to their season opener. Although the score reads like another blowout, plenty of positives came out of Red Wing's 7-1 loss to Winona.
The most prominent of those is the urgency of which the Wingers played compared to their opener four days ago. Weess said the team was slow to the ball in their first game, but not nearly as much against Winona.
"I think Saturday, our game at West, we were caught watching the ball a lot and letting guys blow right by us," Weess said. "This game we concentrated a little bit more on keeping the ball in front of us. I think the guys did a better job of that. We made better decisions, we progressed a little bit, especially defensively."
Throughout the first half, Winona was on the attack more often than not, but Red Wing's defense rarely let any Winhawks behind them. The primary deficiency with the Wingers' back line was an inability to clear the zone, leading to multiple second- and third-chance opportunities for Winona.
Winona opened the scoring with a goal by Teis Larsen before Red Wing countered on a goal by Snouffer — his second of the season. Jed Heineman assisted on Snouffer's goal.
The Winhawks proceeded to score two more goals in the first half which sent them into the break with a 3-1 lead. Winona added four more goals in the second half to cap the game off.
Greggory Stallard started the game in net for Red Wing and made nine saves on 12 shots. Leo Walter entered the game in the second half and stopped seven shots on 11 attempts on net.
"It’s a year where we have to progress little by little, making improvements each game, and I think we did that," Weess said. "We got some guys offensively, that when we get in the mode of attacking, we got some guys that can really move the ball around. We just have to relieve the pressure, get it going that way."
- 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 vs. Faribault
- 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 vs. Albert Lea
- 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15 at Rochester John Marshall
- 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18 vs. Mankato East
- 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22 at Northfield
- 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 vs. Rochester Century
- 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29 at Rochester Mayo
- 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2 vs. Owatonna