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Boys Soccer: Lake Region hoping to stay sharp for playoff run

Lake Region boys soccer enjoying success on the field

Lake Region Christian School of Brainerd vs First Baptist of Rosemount.
Lake Region Christian School's Soren Benson kicks the ball against First Baptist of Rosemount on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in Baxter.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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Iron sharpens iron.

The Proverb is words the Lake Region boys soccer team lives by.

The faith based school located in Baxter started the season 1-1-1 before rattling off 11 wins in a row. The Hornets suffered their second loss of the season to Rosemount last week to fall to 12-2-1 with four games left before the Minnesota Association of Christian Schools state tournament.

“I don’t know if we have any secrets,” Lake Region head coach Micah Benson said. “We are just a strong team from top to bottom. We’ve played really good team soccer. We started out the season a little rough, but we were able to meet as a team and regroup and figure out what our potential was and ever since then we’ve been playing pretty strong soccer.”

Lake Region doesn’t play in the Minnesota State High School League, rather in the MACS.

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Eight teams make up the MACS soccer league with Lake Region currently atop the standings with a 7-2-1 record in conference games. The Hornets also have outscored their opponents by 20 goals which leads the conference.

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Both losses for the Hornets have come at the hands of Rosemount, which sits third in the standings at 4-2-2.

Other teams with two conference losses are second-place Prior Lake and fourth-place Chisago.

The closest opponent for Lake Region is Fourth Baptist Christian School which is located in Plymouth which is roughly a two-hour drive from Lake Region. Most games start in the afternoon for the Hornets.

“We have Wednesday nights off because those are church nights, but we practice on non-game days, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday,” Benson said. “We typically have earlier games, so we can get back at a decent time for the kids to get school work done.”

For road games, the Hornets soccer team rides with the volleyball team on a coach bus which was donated to the school.

Lake Region Christian School of Brainerd vs First Baptist of Rosemount.
Lake Region Christian School's JP Fitzpatrick kicks the ball against First Baptist of Rosemount on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in Baxter.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

The three-headed monster of Joseph Bostrom, Soren Benson and Trey Ogren leads Lake Region’s offense

“Those three have been playing up top now for a couple of years,” Micah Benson said. “Trey is a senior and Joseph is a junior and Soren is a ninth grader. Our offense flows through Soren as our central midfielder and he has great vision to get the ball on people’s feet so that they can score. Trey and Joseph have done a good job at finishing those runs and putting a lot of pressure on opposing teams.”

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Bostrom is the Hornets’ leading scorer with 33 goals and six assists for 39 points. Against St. Cloud Christian, Bostrom recorded five goals in a 5-3 win. He’s also recorded a hat trick in six games.

“It’s fun to watch,” Benson said. “Those three guys have a lot of share in our team’s points, so what makes us unique in our league is we have three significant threats at the top which puts opposing teams at a disadvantage because they can’t just shut down one. Joseph has had a lot of good opportunities and has finished them.”

Lake Region Christian School of Brainerd vs First Baptist of Rosemount.
Lake Region Christian School's Liam Minerly maneuvers the ball against First Baptist of Rosemount on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in Baxter.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Soren Benson, son of Micah Benson, leads the team with 28 assists along with eight goals.

Ogren owns 17 goals and eight assists.

“It’s a three-pronged attack up top and it’s hard for a lot of teams in our conference to manage,” Benson said.

Defensively, the Hornets needed to make a change at goalie midseason. Joe Wiedell suffered a season-ending injury which forced Benson to try different people in goal.

After shuffling through three different goalies, Ryan Arns took over the job in net. He’s recorded 72 saves.

“Ryan has really stepped up,” Benson said. “We had a few other guys fill in, but Ryan has been our primary goalie since the injury and has done a great job.”

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The backline for the Hornets features JP Fitzpatrick, who Benson called their lockdown defender.

“He’ll be matched up with the other team’s top offensive player and his speed and grit make it challenging for the other team’s best player to get anything accomplished,” Benson said.

Lake Region Christian School of Brainerd vs First Baptist of Rosemount.
Lake Region Christian School's Trey Ogren kicks the ball against First Baptist of Rosemount on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in Baxter.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Damian Craig is the Hornets’ sweeper on the defensive end. Benson said he is a physical presence.

James Stokman, Josh Bostrom and Liam Minerly are three other defenders for Lake Region.

“Those three have significantly improved from last year to this year,” Benson said.

During the winning streak, Benson said the team showed its confidence.

“We weren’t complacent and continued to push each other on and off the field,” he said. “As a faith based school, we have a team verse that we based everything on that’s Proverbs 27:17 ‘Iron sharpens iron’ and so we have been pushing each other on and off the field.”

The MACS State Tournament is scheduled for the week of Oct. 24, and Lake Region hopes to come away winners.

“Our biggest challenge this year has been Rosemount, who has given us our only two losses this year,” Benson said. “They also beat us in the state tournament last year. So that’s the team that we anticipate we might face again and we are looking forward to having another opportunity to compete against Rosemount.”

Lake Region Christian School of Brainerd vs First Baptist of Rosemount.
Lake Region Christian School's JP Fitzpatrick goes up for the ball against First Baptist of Rosemount on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in Baxter.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

MACS Soccer Standings

Team Record GD*

Lake Region 7-2-1 +20

Prior Lake 5-2-2 +3

Rosemount 4-2-2 +2

Chisago 2-2-6 -1

Owatonna 2-3-4 -7

Woodcrest 3-6-1 -9

Fourth Baptist 2-4-1 -3

St. Francis 2-5-1 -3

*GD = goal differential

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or conrad.engstrom@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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