As time wound down Tuesday night in Duluth Denfeld’s 4-0 victory over Hermantown in a Section 7A first-round boys soccer game, the Hunters’ Simon Davidson and Keegan Chastey allowed themselves to look at what lay ahead as they sat on the home team's bench at Public Schools Stadium.
Undefeated Cloquet-Esko-Carlton is the next obstacle in Denfeld’s path at a return trip to the section final, but the Denfeld duo is undaunted by the matchup against a team that clobbered the Hunters 11-0 during the regular season.
“Obviously we know what happened last time,” said Chastey, a senior midfielder who suffered an ankle injury against CEC that sidelined him for two games. “That was by far the worst we’ve ever played. We are looking forward to putting it right.”
The top-seeded Lumberjacks (12-0) and eighth-seeded Hunters (7-4-1) will play at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Davidson, who scored two goals Tuesday to give him five this season against Hermantown, believes his team can overcome the long odds.
“They are a very strong and hard-working team and they work well together,” Davidson said. “We have to possess the ball, play our game and get used to that grass field as soon as we can.”
Despite the lopsided previous outcome, that doesn’t mean a similar result will ensue. Denfeld beat Hermantown 8-0 in their first meeting before they ended the regular season with a 1-1 draw.
“We have to go in with the right mindset,” Denfeld coach Scott Anderson said. “The last time we lost our minds and lost the game. We have to go in with a mindset that we are a good team and should challenge them. It should be a heck of a game.”
Hermantown coach David Thompson knows it will be a challenge. CEC beat up Hermantown 8-0 during the regular season and dominated Hibbing-Chisholm 11-0 in Tuesday’s first round.
“It says a lot about Cloquet; they beat us 8-0,” Thompson said. “I think that’s one of the best high school soccer teams that I’ve seen. And I don’t mean the best in terms of having the best individual players, they have the most players that are talented and play well together. Cloquet is a very, very talented team.”
Before the Hunters could look ahead, they needed to get past the Hawks (5-4-3). Hermantown ended the season on a four-game winless streak but all against solid teams.
Davidson struck in the 28th minute to break the deadlock.
As they did last Friday against Hermantown, the Hunters controlled the ball and eventually wore down the depleted Hawks.
Owen Wilcox dribbled the ball past Hermantown’s goalkeeper in the second minute of the second half, Chastey added his 18th goal of the season and Davidson closed out the scoring after a run down the right wing in the 64th minute.
“After that first goal, we started to play our game better,” Davidson said. “Then Keegan put his goal in and we started to pick it up.”
Now they have to keep that up Thursday against the section juggernaut.
Duluth Denfeld 1-3—4
First half — 1. Simon Davidson (Keegan Chastey), 28th minute.
Second half — 2. Owen Wilcox (K. Chastey), 42nd; 3. K. Chastey (Parker Chastey), 53rd; 4. Davidson (K. Chastey), 64th.
Saves — Michael Lau, H, 9; Conrad Lazzaro, DD, 6.