Boys Soccer: Warriors D stonewalls Spartans
The Brainerd Warriors defense held the Rocori Spartans without a shot on net leading to a 5-0 victory and a 3-0 record.
Brandon Neifert will get credit for a third shutout, but the Brainerd Warriors goalkeeper didn’t do much Thursday, Sept. 3.
The senior captain didn’t have to as the Warriors held the Rocori Spartans without a shot on net leading to a 5-0 Central Lakes Conference victory at Adamson Field in Brainerd.
The defensive trio of Max Lelwica, Cooper Cousino and Jeremy Duff kept the goalie box clean for Neifert.
“We really do have a strong defense and with our goalies and our defense they communicate so well and that’s what is helping them basically shut down teams,” Warriors head coach Tom Grausam said.
In Brainerd’s three wins, the Warriors have not allowed a goal. On Thursday, they played a key role in igniting the offense, too.
“They are the directors,” Grausam said. “They’re in the back so they get to see the whole field and they can tell people where to play and what not to do and pass it back. It’s really important that we have those three. They’ve been playing together for a really long time and that cohesiveness really helps.”
On the other end, it was Nole Robertson and Isaiah Petersen who benefited most. Robertson finished with a goal and two assists, while Peterson tallied twice to help Brainerd improve to 3-0.
It was junior Adam Klecker who lit the scoreboard first for the Warriors on a penalty kick with 37:38 remaining on the clock. Klecker went low left for the goal.
Robertson then got into the action six minutes later with his first goal of the season.
“I don’t even remember how it happened,” Robertson said. “It was kind of early and I subbed into the game and I just saw the ball going along the end line and I was going full sprint to try and get it back in with my left foot to get it back in. Then it just went in the upper left corner. It feels good to get the first goal of the season out of the way. Hopefully, more will start rolling in.”
Petersen handed Brainerd a 3-0 halftime edge as he head-butted a Robertson pass into the net with five minutes remaining in the half.
“The first half we sloppy and maybe rushed,” Grausam said. “We weren’t patient with the ball. For the second half, we just told them to slow it down and be patient and move the ball and swing it and switch it and do a little bit more angled passes and that helped.”
The two connected for the first goal of the second when Robertson’s cross pass found Petersen wide open in front of the net for the 4-0 edge.
“I just found myself open and looked up and found Isaiah in the box wide open,” Robertson said. “There was no one around him so I just put the ball on his head or his feet. He was able to get it in.”
Jackson Bluth scored his second goal in as many games as the senior midfielder made it 5-0 with 22:26 remaining in the game.
Neifert didn’t record a save and was pulled with 15 minutes remaining for freshman Kalvin Stengrim who suffered the same boring fate as his older teammate. Stengrim did get to touch the ball when Lelwica fed him a pass as the Warriors defense reversed the field. But Stengrim did not face a shot on net.
“The whole team is doing a really good job of passing and keeping possession and keeping the ball in the offensive end,” Robertson said. “The defense and our goalie are just doing super well this year. Our defense just shuts down anyone who gets near there. No break-aways are allowed. The few shots that teams do get on net, Brandon is right there to shut them down right away. Our defensive backline and our keeper are really locking down their side of the field.”
Rocori 0 0 -- 0
Brainerd 3 2 -- 5
First half: Brd-Adam Klecker PK 37:38; Brd-Nole Robertson (Klecker) 31:19; Brd-Isaiah Petersen (Robertson) 5:21
Second half: Brd-Peterson (Robertson) 29:20; Brd-Jackson Bluth (Max Lelwica) 22:26
Shots on goal: Brd 7, R 0
Goalkeepers: Brd-Brandon Neifert (0 saves in 45 minutes); Brd-Kalvin Stengrim (0 saves in 15 minutes)
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
Warriors 5, Rocori 0
Key: Brainerd’s defense didn’t allow a shot on net
Conf: Brd 3-0, R 0-1-1
Overall, Brd 3-0, R 0-2-1
Next: Brainerd hosts St. Cloud Apollo 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8.