For weeks now, the Mayer Lutheran boys’ soccer team has been playing with only 10 players. In a game that requires 11 on the field at one time, the Crusaders have been at an obvious disadvantage, but that hasn’t stopped the team from fighting through every game. They fought last week as well, falling to Mound-Westonka, but pulling off a tie at Rockford for an 0-5-1 season.
Mound 3, Mayer 0
The White Hawks thought they were going to blast the Crusaders out of the water, according to Crusader head coach Josh Hanley. The White Hawks were 4-2-1 entering the game against Mayer Lutheran on Sept. 11. Holding the White Hawks to only three goals was a big deal for Mayer Lutheran, who eventually lost 3-0.
A physically tough game, Hanley said the match-up was a confidence booster for the Crusaders, because they were able to do fairly well all things considered.
Mayer 0, Rockford 0
The closest they have been to a win all season, the Crusaders tied at Rockford on Sept. 15. After having lost 5-0 to Rockford on Sept. 6, Hanley was very pleased with a tie against a top competitor that “is doing extraordinarily well right now,” according to Hanley, despite Rockford’s 4-4-1 record.
While Hanley was unable to attend the game, Mayer Lutheran girls’ soccer assistant coach Brian Barnes stepped in and coached the Crusaders to a 0-0 tie against Rockford.
“He did a really fine job on the sidelines,” Hanley said.
Driving into two overtimes, senior goalie Michael Limmel had over 20 saves during the game. When his foot was stepped on in the first overtime, sophomore Garret Corkins stepped into the goal and made a few more clutch saves before Limmel returned.
In the second overtime, Limmel had a penalty kick save to keep the game at 0-0.
“They played their hearts out,” Hanley said.
This week, Hanley is hoping to see the return of injured senior Michael Corkins, as well as possibly picking up a player or two from Lester Prairie. Building a complete squad would allow the Crusaders not only to have substitutes, but also to allow partially injured players to heal. Such injured player can be found in eighth grader Riley Thomas, an athlete whom Hanley said “is a warrior.” Thomas sits for practices, but powers through games, playing with a pulled groin.
“I give him a lot of credit,” Hanley said.
The Crusaders are still waiting on the anticipated return of senior Chase Greenhagen, who continues to have pain in his foot.
Mayer Lutheran has a busy few weeks ahead, as they face off against Watertown-Mayer three times, the first of which was on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Results of that contest were not available.