HIBBING — Coming into their game with Hibbing/Chisholm, the Grand Rapids High School boys soccer team wanted to get off to a fast start.
The Thunderhawks wanted to accomplish that by winning balls in the midfield, then get them to their players at the top, who have some speed.
That plan worked to perfection as Grand Rapids scored early, then cruised to a 5-0 boys high school soccer victory over the Bluejackets Tuesday at Vic Power Field.
Thunderhawk coach Nick Koerbitz said his team did exactly what he wanted them to do.
“We competed,” Grand Rapids coach Nick Koerbitz said. “They possessed the ball, but most of it was winning it in midfield. We were able to do that early to get on the board.”
That goal came off of the foot of Andrew Graberkewitz during the sixth minute, and the Thunderhawks were off and running.
“That can be big for momentum, especially when you’re on the road and not comfortable with the setting,” Koeerbitz said. “It definitely takes a little bit of the pressure off.
“Once we did that, we were able to, maybe not relax because we knew we were going to be tested today, but it’s still early in the season, and we have things we’re still working on. We were able to focus on that once we popped a few in.”
Grand Rapids was able to tally two more times to take a comfortable 3-0 lead into halftime.
Rhys Cameron and Griffin Otto were get the goals during the 13th and 24th minutes, respectively.
Hibbing/Chisholm coach Joe Edman didn’t see the same kind of confidence he saw in the Bluejackets game with Chisago Lakes.
“In our last game, we were able to establish more confidence, and I’m not sure what the lack of confidence was today,” Edman said. “A lot of the chances that we took, we didn’t capitalize on.
“Moving the ball up the field, we had a lot of good opportunities and good possession. Defensively, we made a lot of mistakes, and some of that was communication early on.”
Being down by three goals, Edman didn’t think that was insurmountable.
“During the first 20 minutes of the second half, we had better communication,” Edman said. “The boys need to learn to do that to start the game. I’m not sure why they didn’t feel like that today.
“It’s hard to say, but they’re definitely improving as time goes on.”
Leading by three, the Thunderhawks had enough of a cushion to try something new in the second half.
“We still had things to work on,” Koerbitz said. “We changed formations because we want to be able to have different looks. We worked on that in the second half a little bit, especially on the backline.
“We didn’t give up a goal, but they certainly had their chances in the first half. By no means was it an easy talk. We had things to work on.”
Those moves didn’t result in many scoring opportunities, but when a little rain came, Koerbitz changed things up again, and the Thunderhawks got the final two goals of the game.
Graberkewitz scored his second his second goal of the game, during the 69th minute, then Zac Ortman tallied during the 76th minute to end the scoring.
“We were trying to get used to a couple of different things,” Koerbitz said. “When we had them in their end, I thought we did a good job of knocking the ball around, but we let them transition way too easily.
“They were able to possess in our half as well, which we didn’t want to let them do. Once it got wet, we changed back to attack mode. It changed when the rain came. We wanted to keep possession with the rain coming down.”
Grand Rapids starting goalkeeper Hayden DeMars had 10 saves. Chris Pederson stopped one shot.
Payton Forer stopped 10 shots for Hibbing/Chisholm.
GR 3 2 — 5
HC 0 0 — 0
First Half — 1. GR, Andrew Graberkewitz, 6th; 2. GR, Rhys Cameron, 13th; 3. GR, Griffin Otto, 24th.
Second Half — 4. GR, Graberkewitz, 69th; 5. GR, Zac Ortman, 76th.
Goalie Saves — Grand Rapids, Hayden DeMars 10; Chris Pederson 1; Hibbing/Chisholm, Payton Forer 10.
Chisago Lakes 1
Grand Rapids 0
CHISAGO LAKES — The Grand Rapids High School boys soccer team lost to Chisago Lakes 1-0 in road action on Thursday.
Thunderhawk coach Nick Koerbitz said it was an even match and that Grand Rapids had its chances to win the match.
The boys soccer team is next in action on Sept. 3, when it travels to Bemidji.