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State boys soccer semifinals: Duluth East looking for ‘patience’ against Rosemount

The Greyhounds return to U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time since 2018 as the odds-on favorite to come home as state champions.

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David Wallerstein (6) of Duluth East jumps in the air over Austin Wick (22) of Duluth Denfeld while chasing the ball on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, at Ordean Stadium in Duluth. The Greyhounds advanced to the state semifinal with a 3-1 win over Moorhead Oct. 27 at Irondal High School in New Brighton. Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune
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Duluth East played well enough to win its Minnesota Class AAA quarterfinal match Oct. 27 against Moorhead at Irondale High School in New Brighton, but coach Corey Bachand didn’t think his team was overly impressive in the 3-1 win.

“I think we were a little tight, we didn’t play real relaxed,” Bachand said after the game.

After the team returned to Duluth, they took a day off and then took to the practice field and Bachand said they’ve focused on one thing to avoid a repeat performance: “Patience.”

“We need to keep the ball on our foot,” Bachand said before practice Monday. “That’s something we didn’t do well the other night against Moorhead and I believe that we have taken the next step that we need to go into these next couple games and have more success.”

In the state semifinal, the No. 2 seeded Greyhounds will face unseeded Rosemount at 10 a.m. Wednesday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

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The Irish (8-6-3) won just one of their first five games this season, but have allowed just two goals over the last five games and scored a shootout win over No. 3 seed Edina in their quarterfinal match Oct. 27 at Farmington High School.

After top-seeded Minneapolis Southwest fell to Rochester Mayo last week, the Greyhounds are the top seeded team left in the tournament and the favorite to return home with the state championship trophy. The Greyhounds are aware of their status, but aren’t taking anything for granted, according to senior Aiden Olson.

““It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be a dogfight and we’re going to have to play our best to win,” Olson said. “We know (Rosemount is) a solid team, they’re really good defensively. They don’t score many goals, but they also don’t let in very many goals. They’ve beaten some good teams, they just beat Edina who was one of the favorites coming in. Obviously, they’ve earned their place.”

With 17 seniors, Duluth East (18-1-1) has been one of the top teams in the state all season and is used to playing as the favorite and are getting ready for the Irish like they’ve done all season.

“It’s the next game on the schedule,” Bachand said. “We’ve looked at the whole year that way. We’re preparing to play a good defensive team and we’re going to find a way to get to their net.”

Olson said he is going to relish the opportunity to play on the turf at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“I watched (the Vikings’) game last night and it was at U.S. Bank,” Olson said. “I was like, ‘We’re playing there in like three days — that’s incredible.’ We’re going to be taking the same bus route to the stadium, as an 18-year-old kid, that’s crazy — that’s amazing to me.”

Bachand said while the “atmosphere is completely different” at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Greyhounds will be ready for the challenge.

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“The kids get all revved up for it, it gives you and extra level of spark,” Bachand said. “But the kids know that this is our time right now.”

Related Topics: SOCCER
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