Yellowjackets easily beat Northland
For the Yellowjacket men's soccer team, the first half of the 2013 season has featured arguably the toughest schedule in school history. Not a soft game in the bunch, the Yellowjackets have had to earn every point, every goal and every shot throughout the season.
And that's the reason why Tuesday's game with Northland College was so welcome.
For the first time this season, the Yellowjackets could breathe easy during a game, scoring twice in the first half and four times in the second half on their way to a dominating 6-0 win over the Lumberjacks at Public Schools Stadium in Duluth.
The win was the fourth in the last five outings for the Yellowjackets, who had no shortage of players enjoy big days.
Senior Ben Royce (Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Simley), who has been on a torrid scoring streak got the scoring started, netting the eventual game-winning goal on an assist from Brian Grand (North Branch, Minn./North Branch) in the 13th minute to give the Yellowjackets the lead. Grand fed the ball ahead to Royce who sent his shot home off the post. For Royce, the reigning WIAC Men's Soccer Offensive Athlete of the Week, it was the fourth straight game for him with at least one point.
The Yellowjackets closed out the first half scoring in the 23rd minute when John Levenick (Champlin, Minn./Champlin) scored his second goal of the season, putting a shot home from inside the box to make it 2-0. Levenick, who hadn't scored since the first game of the season, also received an assist from Grand.
Grand picked up his third assist of the game as the Yellowjackets made it 3-0. Grand carried down the left side and made a short pass to Nate Engel (Maple Grove, Minn./Maple Grove) and buried his second of the year in the 50th minute.
As the game went on the Yellowjackets, with the game firmly in control, gave some valuable playing time to players who hadn't seen much action in the first half of the season and several players picked up their first collegiate points.
Freshman Logan Klatt (North Branch, Minn./North Branch) scored his first collegiate goal in the 62nd minute to make it a 4-0 game. Royce did the work to set up the play and Klatt drove the one-timer home. In the 84th minute the lead bulged to 5-0 as Seth Aycock (Troy, Ill./Triad) scored his first goal of the year. Aycock took a pass from Eric Loberg-Kreft (Duluth, Minn./East) and put it past Lumberjack goalkeeper Colton Schreyer. The Yellowjackets closed out the scoring in the match's final minute, with Nico Railef (Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge) took a crossing pass from Aycock and drove it home to make the final score 6-0.
Royce and Aycock each had a goal and an assist in the match, while Grand added three helpers to pace the Yellowjackets.
In goal, reigning WIAC Men's Soccer Defensive Athlete of the Week Matt Elder (New Hope, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong) got the start and played 28:27 before giving way to Zach Harwerth (Anoka, Minn./Anoka) who went the rest of the way. Neither goalkeeper was tested as the Yellowjackets didn't allow a shot on goal. The Yellowjackets had an 18-0 edge in shots on goal and had 41 attempted shots in the match, compared to just one for Northland. Schreyer finished the match with 12 saves for the Lumberjacks.
The Yellowjackets (6-4-2, 1-0-1 WIAC) are now off for a week. Their next action will come on Tuesday, October 8 when they travel to Collegeville, Minn. to take on St. John's University. Game time is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.